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L I E) RA R.Y 

OF THE 

UNIVERSITY 

or ILLINOIS 

SZ3 
W85rr. 

V. 3 



MILDRED AEKELL. 



VOL. III. 



Digitized by tine Internet Arcinive 

in 2010 witin funding from 

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 



http://www.archive.org/details/mildredarkellnov03wood 



MILDRED ARKELL 



% iokl. 



BY 



Mrs. henry WOOD, 

AUTHOR OF 

EAST LYNNE,'' "'LORD OAKBURN's DAUGHTERS," " THEVLYN HOLD, 

ETC. ETC. 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 



VOL. III. 



LONDON : 
TINSLEY BROTHERS, CATHERINE STREET, STRAND. 

iSG5. 

All right$ of Translafiou and liefiroduction are reaerred. 



LONDOW : 

SAVILl AND EBWAUDS, PBINTKES, CHAXD08-STRBBT, 

COVKNT-GARDBir. 



V.3 



CONTENTS. 



CHAP. PACK 

I. DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND A SURPRISE . . 1 

II. A DOUBTFUL SEARCH 24 

III. DETECTION 43 

IV. ASSIZE SATURDAY 68 

V. ASSIZE SUNDAY .86 

VI. PEACHING TO THE DEAN 103 

VII. CARR VERSUS CARR 122 

VIII. THE SECOND DAY 144 

IX. THE SHADOWS OP DEATH 168 

X. THE GRAVESTONE IN THE CLOISTERS . .191 

XL THOUGHTLESS WORDS 213 

Xn. MISCONCEPTION 236 

XIII, THE TABLES TURNED 25(j 

XIV. A RECOGNITION 273 

XV. Mildred's recompense 290 

XVI. MISS pauntleroy loved at last . . .309 



MILDEED ARKELL. 



CHAPTER I. 

DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND. A SURPRISE. 

It happened on that same second of December that 
Mr. Littelby took his place for the first time as con- 
ductor of the business of Mynn and Mynn. He 
had arrived at Eckford the previous day^ as per 
agreement^ but was not installed formally in the 
office until this. Old Mynn, not in his gout now, 
had come down early, and was brisk and lively; 
George Mynn was also there. 

He was an admitted solicitor just as much as 
were Mynn and Mynn ; he was to be their confi- 
dential locum tetiens ; the whole management and 
conduct of affairs was, during their absence, to fall 
upon him ; he was, in point of fact, to be practi- 
cally a principal, not a clerk, and at the end of a 
year, if all went well, he was to be allowed a share 
in the business, and the firm would be Mynu, 
Mynn, and Littelby. 

VOL. III. 1 



2 MILDRED ARKELL. 

It was not, then, to be wondered at, that the 
chief of the work this day was the inducting him 
into the particulars of the various cases that Mynn 
and Mynn happened to have on hand, more espe- 
cially those that were to come on for trial at the 
Westerbury assizes, and would require much atten- 
tion beforehand. They were shut up betimes, the 
three, in the small room that would in future be 
Mr. Littelbjr's — a room which had hitherto been 
nobody's in particular, for the premises were com- 
modious, but which Mr. Richards had been in the 
habit of appropriating as his own, not for office 
purposes, but for private uses. Quite a cargo of 
articles belonging to Mr. Richards had been there : 
coats, parcels, pipes, letters, and various other items 
too numerous to mention. On the previous day, 
Richards had received a summary mandate to 
'^ clear it out,'' as it was about to be put in order 
for the use of Mr. Littelby. Mr. Richards had 
obeyed in much dudgeon, and his good feeling 
towards the new manager — his master in future — 
was not improved. It had not been friendly pre- 
viously, for Mr. Richards had a vague idea that 
his way would not be quite so much his own as it 
had been. 

He sat now at his desk in the public office, into 
which clients plunged down two steps from the 
landing on the first flight of stairs, as if they had 



MILDRED ARKELL. 3 

been going into a well. His subordinate, a steady- 
young man named Pope, who was browbeaten by 
Richards every hour of his life, sat at a small desk 
apart. Mr. E/ichards, ostensibly occupied in the 
perusal of some formidable-looking parchment^ 
was, in reality, biting his nails and frowning, and 
inwardly wishing he could bring the ceiling down 
on Mr. Littelby^s head, shut up in that adjoining 
apartment ; and could he have invented a decent 
excuse for sending out Pope, in the teeth of the in- 
timation Mr. George Mymi had just given, that 
Pope was to stop in, for he should want him, Mr. 
E/ichards would have had his own ear to the key- 
hole of the door. 

Mr. Littelby and jMr. Mynn sat at the square 
table, some separate bundles of papers before them, 
tied up with red string ; Mr. George Mynn stood 
with his back to the fire. Never was there a 
keener or a better man of business than Mynn the 
elder, when his state of health allowed him a respite 
from pain. He had been well for two or three 
weeks now, and the office found the benefit of it. 
He was the one to explain matters to Mr. Lit- 
telby ; Mr. George only put in a word here and 
there. In due course they came to a small bundle 
of papers labelled " Carr," and Mr. Mynn, in his 
rapid, clear, concise manner, gave an outline of the 
case. Before he had said many words, Mr. Lit- 



4 MILDRED ARKELL. 

telby raised his head, his face betokening interest, 
and some surprise. 

" But I thought the Carr case was at an end/' 
he observed. " At least, I supposed it ^Yould natu- 
rally be so." 

" Oh dear no,^' said old Mynn ; " it's coming on 
for trial at the assizes — that is, if the other side 
are so foolish as to go on to action. I don^t myself 
think they will be.'"' 

" The other side ? You mean the widow of 
Robert Carr the clergyman ?" asked Mr. Littelby, 
scarcely thinking, however, that Mr. Mynn could 
mean it. 

" The widow and the brother — yes. Fauntleroy, 
of Westerbury, acts for them. But he'll never, as I 
believe, bring so utterly lame a case into court/' 

Mr. Littelby wondered what his new chief could 
mean; he did not understand at all. 

"I should have supposed the case would have 
been brought to an end by you,'^ he observed. 
" From the moment that the marriage was discovered 
to have taken place, your clients, the Carrs of Eck- 
ford, virtually lost their cause." 

" But the marriage has not been discovered to 
have taken place,'"* said Mr. Mynn. 

" Yes, it has. Is it possible that you have not 
had intimation of it from Mr. Fauntleroy?" 

Mr. Mynn paused a moment. Mr. George, who 



MILDRED ARKELL. 5 

had been looking at his boots, raised his head to 
listen. 

'^ Where was it discovered? — who discovered 
it?''"' asked Mr. Mynn, with the air of a man who 
does not believe what is being said to him. 

" The widow, yo^i^g Mrs. Carr, found the notice 
of it. In searching her late father-in-law's desk, 
she discovered a letter written by him to his son. 
It was the week subsequent to her husband's death. 
The letter had slipped between the leaves of an old 
blotting-book, and lain there unsuspected. While 
poor Robert Carr the clergyman was wearing away 
his last days of life in those fruitless searchings of 
the London churches, he little thought how his own 
carelessness had forced it upon him. He examined 
this very desk when his father died, for any papers 
there might be in it, and mast have examined it 
imperfectly, for there the letter must have been."" 

'^But what was in the letter?'' asked George 
Mynn, speaking for the first time since the topic 
arose. 

" It stated that he had married the young lady 
who went away with him, Martha Ann Hughes, on 
the morning they left Westerbury — married her at 
her own parish church, St. — St. — I forget the 
name." 

^^ Her parish church was St. James the Less," 
said Mr. Mynn, speaking very fast. 



6 MILDRED ARKELL. 

" Yes^ that was it ; I remember now. It struck 
me at the time as being a somewhat uncommon 
appellation. That is where the marriage took 
place^ on the morning they left Westerbury." 

Mr. Mynn sat down ; he had need of some rest 
to recover his consternation. Mr. George never 
spoke : he said afterwards, that the thought flashed 
upon him, he could not tell how or why, that the 
letter was a fraud. 

" How did you know of this ?" was Mr. Mynn's 
first question. 

Mr. Littelby related how : that Mrs. Carr had 
informed him of it at the time of the discovery : 
and, it may be observed, that he was unconscious of 
breaking any faith in repeating it. Mrs. Carr, 
attaching little importance to Mr. Fauntleroy^s 
request of keeping it to herself, had either forgotten 
or neglected to caution Mr. Littelby, to whom it 
had at once been told. Mr. Littelby, on his part, 
had never supposed but the discovery had been 
made known to Mynn and Mynn and the Carrs 
of Eckford, by Mr. Tauntleroy, and that the litiga- 
tion had thus been brought to an endr 

" And you say this is known to Mr. Fauntleroy ?" 
asked old Mynn. 

" Certainly. Mrs. Carr forwarded the letter to 
him the very hour she discovered it.^^ 

" Then what can possess the man not to have 



MILDRED ARKELL. 7 

sent us notice of it ?" he exclaimed. " He^d never 
be guilty of the child''s play of concealing this 
knowledge until the cause was before the court, 
and then bringing it forward as a settler ! Faunt- 
leroy^s sharp in practice ; but heM hardly do 
this/' 

^^Is it certain that the marriage did take place 
there ?'^ quietly put in Mr. George Mynn. 

They both looked at him ; his quiet tone was so 
full of significance : and Mr. Mynn had to turn 
round in his chair to do it. 

" It appears to me to be a very curious story," 
continued the younger man. " What sort of a 
woman is this Mrs. Carr ?" 

A pause. '^ You are not thinking that she is 
capable of — of — concocting any fraud, are you ?" 
cried Mr. Littelby. 

" I should be sorry to say it. I only say the 
thing wears a curious appearance.'^ 

^' She is entirely incapable of it,"' returned Mr. 
Littelby, warmly. " She is quite a young girl, 
although she has been a wife and mother. Be- 
sides, the letter, remember, only stated where the 
marriage took place, and where its record might 
be found. I remember she told me that the words 
in the letter were, that the marriage would be 
found duly entered in the register." 

Mr. Mynn was leaning back in his chair; his 



8 MILDRED ARKELL. 

hancls iu his waistcoat pockets, his eyes half closea 
in thought. 

" Did you see this letter,, Mr. Littelby T^ he 
inquired, rousing himself. 

"No. Mrs. Carr had sent it off to Mr. Faunt- 
leroy. She told me its contents, I daresay nearly 
word for word." 

" Because I really do not think the marriage 
could have taken place as described. It would 
inevitably have been known if it had : some 
persons, surely, would have seen them go into the 
church ; and the parson and clerk must have been 
cognisant of it ! How was it that these people 
kept the secret? Besides, the parties were awa}^ 
from the town by eight o^clock, or thereabouts.''^ 

" I don^t knovv' anything about the details," said 
Mr. Littelby ; " but I do know that the letter, 
stating what I have told you, was found by !Mrs. 
Carr, and that she implicitly believes in it. Would 
the letter be likely to assert a thing that a minute^s 
time could disprove ? If the record of the marriage 
is not on the register of St. James the Less, to 
what end state that it is ?" 

" If this letter stated what you say, ^Ir. Littelby, 
rely upon it that the record is there. There 
have been such things known, mind you " — and 
old Mynn lowered his voice as he spoke — " as 
frauds committed on registers ; false entries made. 



MILDRED ARKELL. « 

And they have passed for genuine, too, to uii- 
suspieious eyes. But, if this is one, it won^t pass 
so with me,'^ he added, rising. '^ Not a man in 
the three kingdoms has a keener eye than mine." 

'^ It is impossible that a false entry can have been 
made in the register !" exclaimed Mr. Littelby, 
speaking slowly, as if debating the question in his 
own mind. 

" We shall see. I assure you I consider it ecjually 
impossible for the marriage to have taken place, 
as stated, without detection." 

'^ But — assuming your suspicion to be correct — 
wdio can have been wicked enough to insert the 
entry ?" cried Mr. Littelby. 

^' That, I can^t tell. The entry of the marriage 
w^ould take the property from our clients, the Carrs 
of Eckford, therefore they are exempt from the 
suspicion. I wonder," continued Mr. Mynn in a 
half-secret tone, " whether that young clergj^man 
got access to the register when he was down 
here ?" 

'' That young clergymaa was honest as the day," 
emphatically interrupted Mr. Littelby. " I could 
answer for his truth and honour with my life. The 
findino' of that letter would have sent him to his 
grave easier than he went to it." 

" There's another brother, is there not?" 

" Yes. But he is in Holland, looking after the 



10 MILDRED ARKELL. 

home affairs^ which are also complicated. He has 
not been here at all since his father^s death/' 

^' Ah, one doesn't know/' said old Mynn, glancing 
at his watch. " Hundreds of miles have intervened, 
before now, between a committed fraud and its 
plotter. Well, we will say no more at present. Til 
tell you more when I have had a look at this regis- 
ter. It will not deceive me.'" 

" Are you going over now ?" asked Mr. George. 

'^At once,'' replied old Mynn, with decision; 
"and I'll bring you back my report and my 
opinion as soon as may be." 

But Mr, Mynn was away considerably longer 
than there appeared any need that he should be. 
When he did arrive he explained that his delay arose 
from the effectual and thorough searching of the 
register. 

'^ I don't know what could have been the meaninp* 
or the use of that letter you told us of, Mr. Littelby," 
he said, as he took off his coat ; " there is no entry 
of the marriage in the church register of St. James 
the Less." 

"No entry of it!" 

" None whatever." 

Mr. Littelby did not at once speak : many 
thoughts were crowding upon his mind. He and 
old Mynn were standing now, and George Mynn 
was sitting with his elbow on the table, and his 



MILDRED ARKELL. 11 

achmg head leaning on his hand. The least ex- 
citement out of common_, sometimes only the sit- 
ting for a day in the close office^ would bring on 
these intolerable headaches. 

" I have searched effectually — and I don^t sup- 
pose the old clerk of the church blessed me for 
keeping him there — and I am prepared to take an 
affidavit, if necessary, that no such marriage is 
recorded in the book/'' continued the elder lawyer. 
^^ What could have been the aim or object of that 
letter, I cannot fathom.^' 

" Mr. Carr will not come into the money, then ?^^ 
said Mr. Littelby. 

^' Of course not, so far as things look at present. 
I thought it was very strange, if such a thing had 
been there, that Fauntleroy did not let it be known/' 
he emphatically added. 

" You are sure you have fully searched ?"" 

" Mr. Littelby, I have fully searched," was the 
reply ; and the lawyer was not pleased at being 
asked the question after what he had said. " There 
is no such marriage entered there ; and rely upon 
it no such marriage ever was entered there. I 
might go farther and say, with safety in my 
opinion, that there never v»'as such marriage 
entered anywhere.''^ 

" Then why should Robert Carr, the elder, have 
written the letter V 



12 MILDRED ARKELL. 

" Did he write it ? It may be a question." 

"No, he never wrote it," interposed George 
Mynn, looking up. " There was some wicked plot 
concocted — I donH say by whom, and I can^t say 
it — of which this letter was the prologue. Per- 
haps the epilogue — the insertion of the marriage 
in the register — was frustrated ; possibly this 
letter was found before its time, and the de- 
spatching it to Mr. Fauutleroy marred the whole. 
How can we say ?" 

" We can't say,^"* returned old Mynn. '^ One 
thing I can say and aflirm — that there's no record ; 
and had the letter been a genuine one, the entry 
would be there now." 

" I wonder if Mr. Fauntleroy believes the entry 
to be there ?" cried Mr. Littelby. " I am nearly sure 
that he has not given notice of the contrary to 
Mrs. Carr. She would have told me if he had." 

" If Fauntleroy has been so foolish as to take the 
information in the letter for granted, without send- 
ing to see the register, he must put up with the 
consequences,''^ said old Mynn; "I shall not en- 
lighten him." 

He spoke as he felt — cross. Mr. Mynn was not 
pleased at having spent the best part of the day 
over what he had found to be a fooFs errand ; 
neither did he like to have been startled unneces- 
sarily. He sat down and drew the papers before 



MILDRED ARKELL. 13 

him, saying something to the effect that perhaps 
they could attend to their legitimate business, now 
that the other was disposed of. Mr. Littelby 
caught the cue, and resolved to say no more in that 
office of Carr versus Carr. 

And so, it was a sort of diamond cut diamond. 
Mr. Fauntleroy had said nothing to Mynn and 
Mynn of his private information ; and Mynn and 
Mynn would say nothing to Mr. Fauntleroy of 
theirs. 

Christmas drew on. Mrs. Dundyke, alone now, 
for Mr. Carr had gone back to Holland, was seated 
one afternoon by her drawing-room fire, in the 
twilight, musing very sadly on the past. The 
servants were at tea in the kitchen, and one of 
them had just been up to ask her mistress if she 
would take a cup, as she sometimes did before her 
late dinner, and had gone down again, leaving un- 
intentionally the room door unlatched. 

As the girl entered the kitchen, the sound of 
laughter and merriment came forth to the ears of 
Mrs. Dundyke. It quite jarred upon her heart. 
How often has it occurred to us, bending under the 
weight of some secret trouble that goes well-nigh 
to break us, to envy our unconscious servants, who 
seem to have no care ! 

The kitchen door closed again, and silence super- 
vened — a silence that soon besran to make itself 



14 MILDRED ARKELL. 

felt^ as it will in these moments of gloom. Mrs. 
Dundyke was aroused from it in a remarkable 
manner; not violently or loudly, but still in so 
strange away, that lier mouth opened in consterna- 
tion as she listened, and she rose noiselessly from 
her chair in a sort of horror. 

81ie had, distinctly heard the latch-Jcey put into the 
street-door loch ; just as she had heard it many a 
time ^yhen her husband used to come home from 
business in the year last gone by. She heard it 
turned in the lock, the peculiar click it used to give, 
and she heard the door quietly open and then close 
again, as if some one had entered. Not since they 
went abroad the previous July had she .heard those 
sounds, or had the door thus been opened. There 
had been but that one latch-key to the door, and 
Mr. Dundyke, either by chance or intention, had 
carried it away wdtli him in his pocket. It had 
been in his pocket during the whole period of their 
travels, and been lost with him. 

What could it mean ? Who had come in ? 
Footsteps, slow, hesitating footsteps were cross- 
ing the hall ; they seemed to halt at the dining- 
room, and were now ascending the stairs. Mrs. 
Dundyke was by far too practical a w^oman to believe 
in ghosts, but that anything but the ghost of her 
husband could open the door with that latch-key 
and be stealing up, was hard to believe. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 15 

" Betsey P' 

If ever she felt a wish to sink into the wall, or 
through the floor, she felt it then. The voice 
which had called out the familiar home name, was 
her husband's voice ; his, and yet not his. His, 
in a manner ; but querulous, worn, weakened. She 
stood in horror, utterly bewildered, not daring to 
move, her arms clasping a chair for protection, she 
knew not from what, her eyes strained on the un- 
latched door. That it could be her husband 
returned in life, her thoughts never so much as 
glanced at. 

He pushed open the door, and came in without 
any surprise in his face or greeting on his tongue ; 
came in and went straight to the fire, and sat down 
in a chair before it, just as though he had not been 
gone away an hour — he who had once been David 
Dundyke. Was it David Dundyke still — loas it ? 
He looked thin and shabby, and his hair was cut 
close to his head, and he was altogether altered. 
Mrs. Dundyke was gazing at him with a fixed, un- 
natural stare, like one who has been seized with 
catalepsy. 

He saw her standing there, and turned his head, 
looking at her for a full minute. 

" Betsey V' 

She went forward then ; it was her husband, and 
in life. What the mystery could have been she did 



16 MILDRED AEKELL. 

not know yet — did not glance at in that wild 
moment — but she fell down at his knees and 
clasped him to her, and wept delirious tears of 
joy and agony. 

It seemed — when the meeting was over, and 
the marvelling servants had shaken hands with 
him, and he had been refreshed with dinner, and 
the time came for questions — that he could not 
explain much of the mystery either. He had 
evidently undergone some great change, physically 
and mentally, and it had left him the wreck of 
what he was, with his faculties impaired, and a 
hesitating speech. 

More especially impaired in memory. He could 
recollect so little of the past ; indeed, their sojourn 
at the hotel at Geneva seemed to have gone from 
his mind altogether. Mrs. Dundyke saw that he 
must have had some sort of brain attack; but, what, 
she could not tell. 

"David, where have you been all this while?" 
she said, soothingly, as he lay on the sofa she had 
drawn to the fire, and she sat on a stool beneath 
and clasped his hand. 

" All this while ? I came back directly.'' 

She paused. " Came back from where?'' 

" From the bed." 

" The bed !" she repeated ; and her heart beat 
with a sick faintness as she felt, for the twentieth 



MILDRED ARK ELL. 17 

time^ that henceforth he could only be questioned 
as a child. *' From the bed you lay in when you 
were ill P""^ 

" Yes.'' 

" Were you ill long?'' 

'^ No. I lay in it after I got well : my head 
and my legs were not strong. They turned. It 
was the bed in the kitchen with the large white 
pillows. They slept in the back room.'' 

"Who did?" 

" Paul and Marie. She's his wife." 

" Did they take care of you ?" 

" Yes, they took care of me. Little Paul used to 
fetch the water. He's seven." 

" Do you remember " (she spoke the words 

with trembling, lest the name should excite him) 
"Mr. Hardcastle?" 

It did in some degree. He lay looking at his 
wife, his face and thoughts working. " Hard- 
castle ! It was him that — that — was with me when 
I fell down." 

"Where did you fall?" she asked, as quietly as 
she could. 

"In the sun. We walked a long, long way, 
and he gave me something to drink out of a 
bottle, and I was giddy, and he told me to go to 
sleep." 

" Did he stay with you ?" 

VOL. III. 2 



18 MILDRED ARKELL. 

Mr. Dundyke stared as though he did not 
understand the question. 

" I went giddy. He took my pocket-book ; he 
took out the letters^ and put it back to me again. 
Paul found it. I went to sleep in the sun.^^ 

"When did Paul find it?" 

David Dundyke appeared unable to comprehend 
the " when." " In his cart," he said ; " he found 
me too." 

" David, dear, try and recollect ; did Paul take 
you to his cottage ?" 

David looked puzzled, and then nodded his head 
several times, as if wishing to convince himself of 
the fact. 

" And I suppose you were ill there ?" 

"^ I suppose I was ill there; they said so. 
Marie spoke English ; she had been at — at — 
at sea." 

This was not very perspicuous, but Mrs. Dun- 
dyke did not care for minor details. 

"How did you come home?" she asked. And 
she glanced suddenly down at his boots ; an idea 
presenting itself to her, that she might see them 
worn and travel-stained. But they were not. 
They were the same boots that he had on that last 
morning in Geneva, and they appeared to have 
been little worn. 

" How did 1 come home ?" he repeated. " I 



MILDRED ARKELL. , 19 

came. Marie said I was well enough. Paul 
clianged the note." 

"What note?" she asked. 

" The note from England. He didn^t see that 
when he took the others." 

"He" evidently meant Mr. Hardcastle. She began 
to comprehend a little, and put her questions 
accordingly. 

"Mr. Hardcastle must have robbed you, 
David." 

" Mr. Hardcastle robbed me." 

She found he had a habit of repeating her words. 
She had noticed the same peculiarity before, in 
cases of decaying intellect. 

" The bank note that he did not find was the 
one you had written for over and above what you 
wanted. Why did you write for it, David ?" 

This was a back question, and it took a great 
many others before David could answer. "He 
might have wanted to borrow more," he said at 
length; ^^ Fd have lent him all then." 

Poor man ! That he should have had such 
blind faith in Mr. Hardcastle as to send for 
money in case he should " want to borrow more !" 
Mrs. Dundvke had taken this view of the case 
from the first. 

" You don't believe in him now, David ?" 

" I don't believe in him now. He has got my 

2—2 



20 MILDEED ARKELL. 

bank notes ; and he left me in the sun. Paul put 
me in the cart when it came by." 

" David, why did you not write to me ?" 

David stared. "" I came/' he said. And she 
found afterwards, that he could not write; she 
was to find that he never attempted to write 
again. 

" Did 3^ou send to Geneva? — to me?" 

"To Geneva?— tome?" 

"To me — me, David; not to you. Did you 
send to Geneva?" 

He shook his head, evidently not knowing what 
she meant, and seemed to think. Mrs. Dundyke 
felt nearly sure that he must have lain long 
insensible, for weeks, perhaps months; that is, 
not sutficiently conscious to understand or re- 
member ; and that when he grew^ better, Geneva 
and its doings had faded from his remembrance. 

"How did you come home, David?" she asked 
again. " Did you come alone ?" 

" Did you come alone — yes, in the diligences, 
and rail, and sea. I told them all to take me to 
England; Paul got the money for me; he took 
the note and brought it back." 

Paul had changed it into French money ; that 
must be the meaning of it. Mr. Dundyke put 
his hand in his pocket and pulled out sundry five- 
franc pieces. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 21 

^^ Marie^s got some. I gave her half." 

Mrs. Dundyke hoped it was so. She could 
hardly understand yet, how he could have found 
his way home alone; even with the help of "I 
told them all to take me to England.''^ 

^^ David!" she whispered^ "David! I don't 
know how I shall ever be thankful enough to 
God 1" 

" I'd like some porter." 

It was a contrast that grated on her ear ; the 
animal want following without break on the spi- 
ritual aspiration. She was soon to find that any 
finer feeling he might ever have possessed, had gone 
with his mind. He could eat and drink still, and 
understand that ; but there was something wrong 
with the brain. 

"How did you come down here to-night, 
David?" 

"How did I come down here to-night? There 
was the omnibus." 

The questions began to pain her. " He is 
fatigued," she thought ; " perhaps he will answer 
better to-morrow." The porter was brought to 
him, and he fell asleep immediately after drinking 
it. She rose from her low seat, and sat down in 
a chair opposite to him. 

It was like a dream ; and Mrs. Dundyke all but 
pinched herself to see whether she was awake or 



22 MILDRED ARKELL. 

asleep. She believed that she could tell pretty 
accurately what the past had been. Mr. Hard- 
castle had followed her husband to the side of the 
lake that morning, had in some way induced him 
to go away from it ; had taken him a long, long 
way into the cross country — and it must have been 
at that time that the Swiss peasant, who gave his 
testimony at Geneva, had seen them. At the 
proper opportunity, Mr. Hardcastle must have, 
perhaps, given him some stupefying drink, and 
then robbed him and left him ; but Mrs. Dundyke 
inclined to the opinion that the man must have 
believed Mr. Dundyke insensible, or he surely 
would never have allowed him to see him take the 
notes. He must then have lain, it was hard to 
say how long, before Paul found him; and the 
lying thus in the sun probably induced the fit, or 
sun-stroke, or brain fever, whatever it was, that 
attacked him. He spoke of a cart : and she con- 
cluded that Paul must have been many miles out 
of the route of his home, or else the search insti- 
tuted would surely have found him, had he been 
within a few miles of Geneva. Why these people 
had kept him, had not declared him to the nearest 
authorities, it was hard to say. They might have 
kept him from benevolent motives; or might have 
seen the bank note in his pocket-book, and kept 
him from motives of worldly interest. However 



MILDRED ARKELL. 23 

it might be^ they had shown'themselves worthy 
Christian people, and she should ever be deeply 
grateful. He had evidently no idea of the flight 
of time since ; perhaps — 

" What do you wear that for V 

He was lying with his eyes open, and pointing 
to the widow^s cap. She rose and bent over him, 
as she answered — 

" David ! David, dear ! \ve have been mourning 
you as dead.^"* 

" Mourning me as dead ! I am not dead.^^ 

No, he w^as not dead, and she was shedding 
happy tears for it, as she threw the cap off from 
the braids of her still luxuriant hair. 

As well, perhaps, almost that he had been dead ! 
for the best part of his life, the mind^s life, was 
over. No more intellect ; no more business for him 
in Fenchurch Street; no more ambitious aspirations 
after the civic chair ! — it was all over for ever for 
poor David Dundyke. 

But he had come home. He who was supposed 
to be lying dead — murdered — had come home. 
It was a strange fact to go forth to the world : 
one amidst the extraordinary tales that now and 
then arise to startle it almost into disbelief. 



24 MILDRED ARKELL. 



CHAPTER II, 



A DOUBTFUL SEARCH. 



On the 3rd of February the college boys re- 
assembled for school, after the Christmas holidays. 
Rather explosive were the choristers at times at 
getting no holidays — as they were pleased to 
regard it ; for they had to attend the cathedral 
twice daily always. Strictly speaking, the boys 
had assembled on the previous day, the 2nd of 
February, and those who lived at a distance, or 
had been away visiting, had to be back for that 
day. It is Candlemas Day, as everybody knows, 
and a saint''s day; and on saints' days the king's 
scholars had to attend the services. 

On the 3rd the duties of the school began, and 
at seven in the morning the boys w^ere clattering 
up the steps. It was not a propitious morning : 
snow and sleet doing battle, one against the other. 
Jocelyn had left, and the eldest of the two Prattle- 
tons had succeeded him as senior. Cookesley 
was second senior, Lewis third, and the eldest of 
the Aultanes was fourth. 



MILDRKD ARKELL. 25 

The boys were not assembling in any great 
amount of good feeling. Lewis, who with his 
brother had passed the holidays at the house of the 
late Marmaduke Carr_, and consequently had been 
in Westerbury, did not forget the grudge he owed 
to Henry Arkell. It had been Mr. Lewis's 
pleasure to spend his leisure-hours (time, possibly, 
hanging somewhat heavily on his hands) in haunting 
the precincts of the cathedral. Morning, noon, and 
niirht had he been seen there : now hoverins^ like a 
ghost in one of the cloister quadrants, now playing 
at solitary pitch-and-toss in the grounds, and now 
taking rather slow, meditative steps past the 
deanery. He had thus made himself avv^are that 
Henry Arkell and Miss Beaucierc not unfrequently 
met ; whether by accident or design on the young 
lady's part, she best knew. Four times each day 
had Henry Arkell to be in the grounds and cloisters 
on his way to and from college ; and, at the very 
least, on two of those occasions, ]Miss Beaucierc 
would happen to be passing. She always stopped. 
Lewis had seen him sometimes walking on with 
only a lift of the trencher, and Miss Beaucierc 
would not have it, but stopped as usual. There 
was no whispering, there were apparently few 
secrets ; the talking was open and full of gaiety on 
the young lady's part, if her laughter was anything 
to judge by; but Lewis was not the less savage. 



26 MILDEED ARKELL. 

When lie met her, she would say indifferently, 
"How d'ye do, Lewis?'' and pass on. Once, 
Lewis presumed to stop her with some item cf 
news that ought to have proved interesting, but 
Miss Beauclerc scarcely listened, made some care- 
less remark in answer, and continued her way: 
the next minute she met Henry Arkell, and stayed 
with 1dm. That Lewis was in love with the dean's 
daughter, he knew to his sorrow. How worse 
than foolish it had been on his part to suffer him- 
self to fall in love with her, we might say, but that 
this passion comes to us without our will. Lewis 
believed that she loved Henry Arkell ; he believed 
that but for Henry Arkell being in the field, 
some favour might be shown to him ; and he had 
jTone on hatiuo^ him with a fierce and bitter hatred. 
One day, Henry had come springing down the 
steps of the cathedral, and encountered Miss 
Beauclerc close to him. They stood there on the 
red flagstones of the cloisters, no gravestone being 
in that particular spot, Georgina laughing and 
talking as usual. Lewis was in the opposite 
quadrant of the cloisters, peeping across stealthily, 
and a devout wish crossed his heart that Arkell 
was buried on the spot where he then stood. 
Lewis was fated not to forget that wish. 

How he watched, day after day, none save him- 
self saw or knew. He was training for an ad- 



MILDRED ARKELL. 27 

mirable detective in plain clothes. He suspected 
there had been some coolness between Henry and 
Miss Beauclerc, and that she was labouring to 
dispel it j he knew that Arkell did not go to the 
deanery so much as formerly^ and he heard Miss 
Beauclerc reproach him for it. Lewis had given 
half his life for such a reproach from her lips to be 
addressed to him. 

There were so many things for w^iich he hated 
Henry Arkell ! There ^vas his great progress in 
his studies, there was the brilliant examination he 
had undergone, and there was the gold medal. 
Could Lewis have conveniently got at that medal, 
it had soon been melted dowm. He had also taken up 
an angry feeling to Arkell on account of the doings 
of that past November night — the locking up in the 
church of St. James the Less. Lew^s had grown 
to nourish a very strange notion in regard to it. 
After puzzling his brain to torment, as to how 
Arkell could have got out, and finding no solution, 
he arrived at length at the conclusion that he had 
never been in. He must have left the church pre- 
viously, Lewis believed, and he had locked up an 
empty church. It is true he had thought he heard 
the organ going, but he fully supposed now that he 
heard it only in fancy. Ark ell's silence on the 
point contributed to this idea : it was entirely 
beyond Lewis's creed to suppose a fellow could 



28 MILDRED ARKELL. 

have such a trick played liim and not complain of 
it. Arkell had never jjiven forth token of cos:- 
nisance from that hour to this, and Lewis assumed 
he had not been in. 

It very much augmented his ill feeling, especially 
when he remembered his own night of horrible 
anticipation. Mr. Lewis had come to the final 
conclusion that Arkell had been " out on the 
spree ;" and but for a vague fear that his own 
share in the nio^ht''s events miffht be drao:ored to 
light, he would certainly have contrived that it 
should reach the ears of Mr. AVilberforce. He 
and his brother were to be for another half year 
boarders at the master's house. Cookeslej^ acted 
there as senior; the senior boy, Prattleton, living 
at home. 

The boys trooped into the school-room, and 
Prattleton stood with the roll in his hand. Lewis 
had not joined on the previous day; he had 
obtained grace until this, for he wanted to spend 
it at Eckford. As he came in now, he made rather 
a parade of shaking hands with Prattleton, and 
wishing him joy of his honours. Most of the boys 
liked to begin by being in favour with a new senior^ 
however they might be fated to end, and Lewis and 
Prattleton were great personal friends — it may be 
said confidants. Lewis had partially trusted 
Prattleton with the secret of his love for ]\Iiss 



\ 
MILDRED ARKELL. 



Beaiiclerc; and he had fully entrusted him with 
his hatred of Henry Arkell. Scarcely a minute 
were they together at any time, but Lewis was 
speaking against Arkell ; telling this against him, 
telling that. Constant dropping will wear away a 
stone; and Prattleton listened until he was in a 
degree imbued with the same feeling. Personally, 
he had no dislike to Arkell himself; but, incited by 
Lewis, he was quite willing to do him any ill turn 
privately. 

The roll was called over when Henry Arkell 
entered. He put down a load of books he carried, 
and went up to Prattleton to shake hands, as Lewis 
had done ; being a chorister, he had not gone into 
the school-room on the previous day ; and he wished 
him all good luck. 

" I am sorry to have to mark you late on the 
first morning, Arkell,'''' Prattleton quietly said as 
he shook hands with him. "The school has a 
superstition, you know — that anyone late on the 
first morning will be so, as a rule, through the 
half.^^ 

" I know,^'' answered Henry. " It is no fault of 
mine. Mr. Wilberforce desired me to tell 3^ou that 
he detained me, therefore I am to be marked as 
having been present.''' 

'' Did he detain you ?" 

" For ten minutes at least. I met him as I was 



30 MILDRED ARKELL. 

coming in^ and he caused me to go back with him 
to his house and bring in these books. He then 
gave me the message to you." 

'" All right/' said Prattleton, cheerfully: and he 
erased the cross against ArkelFs name, and marked 
him as present. 

Even this little incident exasperated Lewis. His 
ill feeling rendered him unjust. No other boy, that 
he could remember, had been marked as present, 
not being so. He was beginning to say something 
sarcastic upon the point, when the entrance of 
the master himself shut up his tongue for the 
present. 

But we cannot stop with the college boys just 
now. 

On this same day, later, when the sun, had there 
been any sun to see, was nearing the meridian, 
Lawyer Fauntleroy sat in his private office, deep in 
business. Not a more clever lawyer than he 
throughout the town of AVesterbury ; and to such 
men business flocks in. His table stood at a right 
angle with the fireplace, and the blazing fire 
burning there, threw its heat upon his face, and 
his feet rested on a soft thick mat of w^ool. ]Mr. 
Fauntleroy, no longer young, was growing fonder 
and fonder of the comforts of life, and he sat there 
cosily, heedless of the hail that beat on the window 
without. 



MILDKED ARK ELL. 31 

The door softly opened, and a clerk came in. It 
was Kenneth. " Are you at home, sir ?''^ 

Mr. Fauntleroy glanced up from the parchment 
he was bending over — a yellow-looking deed, and 
his brow looked forth displeasure. " I told you I 
did not care to be interrupted this morning, 
Kenneth, unless it was for anything very particular. 
Who is it?'' 

" A lady, sir. 'Mrs. Carr^ was the name she gave 
in." 

" Carr — Carr ?'■' debated Mr. Fauntleroy, unable 
to recal any lady of the name amidst his acquaint- 
ance. " No. I have no leisure for ladies to- 
day." 

Kenneth hesitated. '^ It's not likely to be the 
Mrs. Carr in Carr v. Carr ; the lady you have had 
some correspondence with, is it, sir ?" he waited to 
ask. ^^ She is a stranger, and is dressed as a 
widow." 

" The Mrs. Carr in Carr v. Carr !" repeated Mr. 
Fauntleroy. '''By Jupiter, I shouldn't wonder if 
she's come to Westerbury ! But I thought she 
was in Holland. Show her in." 

Mr. Kenneth retired, and came back with the 
visitor. It was Mrs. Carr. Mr. Fauntleroy pushed 
aside the deed before him, and rose to salute her, 
wondering at her extreme youth. She spoke 
English fluently, but with a foreign accent, and 



32 MILDRED AEKELL. 

she entered at once upon the matter which had 
brought her to Westerbmy. 

" A circumstance has occurred to renew the old 
anxiety about this cause/^ she said to Mr. 
Fauntleroy. " Should we lose it, I shall lose all 
I have at present to look forward to, for our affairs 
in Holland are more complicated than ever. It 
may turn out, Mr. Fauntleroy, that my share of 
this inheritance will be all I and my little children 
will have to depend upon in the world/^ 

" But the cause is safe," returned Mr. Fauntleroy. 
" The paper you found and forwarded to me last 
October — or sta}^, November, wasn^t it " 

"Would you be so kind as let me see that 
paper?" she interrupted. 

Mr. Fauntleroy rose and brought forward a 
bundle of papers labelled " Carr." He drew out a 
letter, and laid it open before his visitor. It was 
the one you saw before ; the letter written by 
Robert Carr the elder to his son, stating that the 
marriage had been solemnized at the church of St. 
James the Less, and that the entry of it would be 
found there. 

"And there the marriage is entered, as I sub- 
sequently wrote you word," observed Mr. Faunt- 
leroy. " It is singular how your husband could 
have overlooked that letter." 

" It had slipped between the leaves of the 



MILDRED ARKELL. 33 

blotting-book, or else been placed there purposely 
by Mr. Carr/-* she answered ; ^^ and my husband 
may not have been very particular in examining 
the desk, for at that time he did not know his 
legitimacy would be disputed. Are you sure it is 
in the register^ sir?^^ she continued, some anxiety 
in her tone. 

" Quite sure," replied Mr. Fauntleroy. " I sent 
to St. Jameses to search as soon as I got this letter, 
glad enough to have the clue at last ; and there it 
was found.^^ 

'^ Well — it is very strange/^ observed Mrs. Carr, 
after a pause. " I will tell you what it is that 
has made me so anxious and brought me down. 
But, in the first place, I must observe that I con- 
cluded the cause was at an end. I cannot understand 
why the other side did not at once give up when 
that letter was discovered." 

Knowing that lie had kept the other side in 
ignorance of the letter, Mr. Fauntleroy was not 
very explanatory on this point. Mrs. Carr con- 
tinued — 

" My husband had a friend of the name of 
Littelby, a solicitor. He was formerly the 
manager of an office in London, but about two 
months since he left it for one in the countrj-, 
Mynn and Mynn^s " 

" Mynn and Mynn," interrupted ^Ir. Fauntleroy; 

VOL. III. 3 



34* MILDRED ARKELL. 

" that's the firm who are conducting the case for 
your adversaries — the Carrs, of Eckford. Littelby ? 
Yes, it is the name of their new man, I re- 
member/' 

" Well, sir, last week Mr. Littelby was in London, 
and he called at Mrs. Dundyke's, where I had been 
staying since I came over from Holland, a fortnight 
before. The strangest thing has happened there ! 
Mr. Dundyke — ^but you will not thank me to take 
up your time, perhaps, with matters that don't 
concern you. Mr. Littelby spoke to me upon the 
subject of the letter that I had found, and he said he 
feared there was something wTong about it, though 
he could not conceive how, for that there had been 
no marriage, so far as could be discovered." 

'^ He can say the moon's made of green cheese if 
he likes," cried Mr. Fauntleroy. 

" He said that the opinion of Mynn and Mynn 
was, that the pretended letter had been intended as 
a ruse — a false plea, written to induce the other side 
to give up peaceably ; but that most positiv^ely there 
was no truth in the statement of the marriage being 
in the register. Sir, I am sure Mr. Littelby must 
have had good cause for saying this," emphatically 
continued Mrs. Carr. ^' He is a man incapable of 
deceit, and he wishes well to me and my children. 
The last advice he gave me was, not to be sanguine ; 
for IMynn and Mynn were clever and cautious prac- 



MILDRED AEKELL. 35 

titioners, and he knew tliey made sure the cause 
was theirs/^ 

" Sharp men/-' acquiesced Mr. Fauntleroy, nod-, 
ding his head with a fellow-feeling of approval ; 
'Miut we have got the whip hand of them in your 
ease, Mrs. Carr. 

'* I thought it better to tell you this/' said she, 
rising. " It has made me so uneasy that I have 
scarcely slept since ; for I know JNIr. Littelby would 
not discourage me without cause.'" 

" Without fancying he has cause/' corrected Mr. 
Fauntleroy. " Be at ease, ma'am : the marriage is 
as certain as that oak and ash grow. Where are 
5''0U staying in Westerbury ^^ 

^^In some lodgings I was recommended to in 
College-row/' answered she, producing a card. 
'' Perhaps you will take down the address ■" 

" Oh, no need for that/' said Mr. Fauntleroy, 
glancing at it, " I know the lodgings well. Mind 
they don't shave you." 

Mrs. Carr was shown out, and Mr. Fauntleroy 
called in his managing clerk. " Kenneth," said he, 
'^ let the Carr cause be completed for counsel ; and 
when the brief's ready, I'll look over it to refresh 
my memory. Send Omer down to St. James the 
Less, to take a copy of the marriage." 

" I thought Omer brought a copy," observed 
Mr. Kenneth. 

3-^ 



36 MILDRED ARKELL. 

" No ; I clon^t tliink so. It will save going again 
if he did. Ask liim/' 

Mr. Kenneth returned to the clerks' ofhee. 
" Omer^ did you bring a copy of the marriage 
in the case, Carr i\ Cuvy, when you searched the 
resrister at St. Jameses church ?'' he demanded. 

" No/' replied Omer. 

" Then why did you not?" 

" I had no orders, sir. Mr. Fauntleroy only told 
me to look whether such an entry was there.'' 

''Then you must go now What's that you 

are about ? Winter's settlement ? Why, you have 
had time to finish that twice over." 

" I have been out all the morning with that 
writ," pleaded Omer, " and could not get to serve 
it at last. Pretty well three hours I was standing 
in the passage next his house, w^aiting for him to 
come out, and the wind whistling my head off all 
the time." 

Mr. Kenneth vouchsafed no response to this; 
but he would not disturb the clerk again from 
Winter's deed. He ordered another, Mr. Green, 
to go to St. James's church for the copy, and threw 
him half-a-crown to pa}^ for it. 

Young Mr. Green did not relish the mission, and 
thought himself barbarously used in being sent 
upon it, inasmuch as that he was an articled clerk 
and a gentleman, not a paid nobody. '^ Trapesing 



MILDRED ARKELL. 37 

through the weather all down to that St. James's V' 
muttered he, as he snatched his hat and great- 
coat. 

It struck three o'clock hefore he came back. 
" AVhere's Kenneth?" asked he, when he entered. 

"In the o^overnor's room. You can q-o in.'' 

Mr. Green did go in, and Mr. Kenneth broke 
out into anger. " You have taken your time !" 

" I couldn't come quicker," was Mr. Green's 
reply. " I had to look all through the book. The 
marriage is not there. '^ 

"It is thrift to send you upon an errand," 
retorted Mr. Kenneth. " You have not been 
searching." 

" I have done nothing else but search since I 
left. If the entry had been there, Mr. Kenneth, I 
should have been back in no time. It is not exactly 
a day to stop for pleasure in a mouldy old church 
that's colder than charity, or to amuse oneself in 
the streets." 

Mr. Fauntleroy looked up from his desk. " The 
entry is there. Green : you have overlooked it." 

" Sir, I assure you that the entry is not there/' 
repeated Mr. Green. " I looked very carefully.''' 

"Call in Omer," said Mr. Fauntleroy. "You 
saw the entry of Kobert Carr's marriage to Martha 
Ann Hughes ?" he continued, when Omer ap- 
joeared. 



38 MILDRED AEKELL. 

"Yes, sir." 

^' You are sure of it T' 

" Certainly, sir. I saw it and read it." 

" You bear, Mr. Green. You have overlooked 
it." 

" If Omer can find it there, V\\ do his work for 
a week," retorted young Green. "I will pledge 
you my veracity, sir " 

'' Never mind your veracity," interrupted Mr. 
Fauntleroy ; " it is a case of oversight, not of 
veracity. Kenneth, you have to go down to Clark's 
office about that bill of costs ; you may as well go 
on to St. James's and get the copy." 

''Two half-crowns to pay instead of one, through 
these young fellows' negligence," grumbled Mr. 
Kenneth. '' They charge it as many times as they 
open their vestry." 

" What's that to him ? it doesn't come out of his 
pocket," whispered Green to Omer, as they returned 
to their own room. " But if they find the Carr 
marriage entered there, I'll be shot in two." 

" And I'll be shot in four if they don't," retorted 
Omer. " What a blind beetle you must have been, 
Green !" 

Mr. Kenneth came back from his mission. 
He walked straight into the presence of Mr. 
Fauntleroy, and beckoning Omer in after him, 
attacked him with a storm of reproaches. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 39 

" Do you drink, Mr. Omer V 

" Drink, sir V 

" Yes, drink. Are the words not plain enough V 

" No, sir, I do not,^" returned Omer, in astonish- 
ment. 

" Then, Mr. Omer, I tell you that you do. No 
man, unless he was a drunken man, could pretend 
to see things which have no place. When you 
read that entry of Kobert Carr's marriage in the 
register, you saw double, for it never was anywhere 
but in your brain. There is no entry of the mar- 
riage in St. James^g^ register," he added, turning to 
Mr. Fauntleroy. 

Mr. Fauntleroy^s mouth dropped considerably. 
" No entry V' 

" Nothing of the sort,"*' continued Mr. Kenneth. 
" There^s no name, and no marriage, and no any- 
tliino^ — relatino^ to Robert Carr."" 

" Bless my heart, what an awful error to have 
been drawn into !" uttered Mr. Fauntleroy, who 
was so entirely astounded by the news, that he, for 
the moment, doubted whether anything was real 
about him. " All the expense I have been put to 
will fall upon me ; the widow has not a rap, certain ; 
and to take her body in execution would bring no 
result, save increasing the cost. Mr. Omer, are 
you prepared to take these charges on yourself, for 
the error your carelessness has led us into ? I 



40 MILDRED ARKELL. 

should not have gone on payinj^ costs m3'Self hut 
for tliat alleged entry in the register/'' 

Mr. Omer looked something like a mass of petri- 
faction, nnable to speak or move. 

^' But for the marriage being established — as we 
were led to suppose — we never should have gone on 
to trial. Mrs. Carr must have relinquished it/^ 
continued Mr. Fauntleroy. 

^^Of course we should not/^ chimed in the 
managing clerk. 

" I thought there must be some flaw in the 
wind; 1 declare I did, by the other side^s carrying 
it on, now that I find Mynn and Mynn knew of 
the alleged marriage/^ exclaimed Mr. Fauntleroy. 
" I shall look to you for reimbursement, Omer. 
And, ~Siv. Kenneth, you^ll search out some one in 
his place : we cannot retain a clerk in our office 
who is liable to lead us into ruinous mistakes, by 
asserting that black is white. ^^ 

Mr. Omer was beginning to recover his senses. 
" Sir," he said, '^you are angry with me without cause. 
I can be upon my oath that the marriage of Robert 
Carr with Martha Ann Hughes is entered there : I 
repeated to you, sir, the date, and the names of the 
witnesses : how could I have done that without 
reading them?" 

"That's true enough,^^ returned ]Mr. Fauntleroy, 
his hopes beginning to revive. 



MILDRED AEKELL. 41 

" Kerens a proof/'' continued the young man^ 
taking out a worn pocket-book. " I am a bad one 
to remember Christian names, so I just copied the 
names of the witnesses here in pencil. ^Edward 
BUsset Hughes/ and ' Sophia Hughes/ " he added, 
holding it towards Mr. Fauntleroy. 

" They were her brother and sister/^ remarked 
Mr. Fauntleroy, in soliloquy, looking at the pen- 
cilled marks. "Both are dead now; at least, news 
came of her death, and he has not been heard of 
for years : she married young Pycroft." 

"Well, sir,'^ argued Omer, " if these names had 
not been in the register, how could I have taken 
them down? I did not know the names before, or 
that there ever were such people/^ 

The argument appeared unanswerable, and Mr. 
Fauntleroy looked at his head clerk. The latter 
was not deficient in common sense, and he was 
compelled to conclude that he had himself done 
what he had accused Mr. Green of doing — over- 
looked it. 

" Allow me to go down at once to St. Jameses, 
sir/^ resumed Omer. 

" I will go with you," said Mr. Fauntleroy. The 
truth was, he was ill at ease. 

They proceeded together to St. James's church, 
causing old Hunt to believe that Lawyer Fauntle- 
roy and his establishment of clerks had all gone 



42 MILDRED AEKELL. 

crazy together. '^ Search the register three times 
in one day V muttered he ; '^ nobody has never 
done such a thing in the memory of man." 

But neither Omer nor his master, Mr. Fauntle- 
roy, could find any such entry in the register. 



2MILDRED ARKELL. 48 



CHAPTER III. 



DETECTION. 



Apteenoon school was over. Mr. AYilberforce liad 
been some time at home, and was bestowing a 
sharp lecture on his son Edwia for some delin- 
quency, when he was told that Lawyer Fauntleroy 
waited in his study. The master brought his anger 
to a summary conclusion, and went into the presence 
of his visitor. 

" My business is not of a pleasant nature," he 
premised. "I must tell you in confidence, Mr. 
Wilberforce, that after all the doubt and discredit 
cast upon the affair, Robert Carr was discovered to 
have married that girl at St. Jameses — your church 
now — and the entry was found there."''' 

" I know it," said Mr. Wilberforce. " I saw it 
in the register." 

The lawyer stared. " Just repeat that, will 
you ?" said he, putting his hand to his ear as if he 
were deaf. 

" I heard it was to be found there, and the first 



44 MILDRED AEKELL. 

time afterwards that I had occasion to make an 
entry in the register, I turned back to the date, out 
of curiosity, and read it/"* 

"Now I am as pleased to hear you say that as if 
you had put me down a five-hundred pound note/' 
cried ]Mr. Fauntleroy. " I daresay you'll not object, 
if called upon, to bear testimony that the marriage 
was registered there/' 

"The register itself v;ill be the best testimou)^," 
observed Mr. Wilberforce. 

"It would have been/' said the lawyer; "but 
that entry has been taken out of the register." 

" Taken out !" repeated Mr. Wilberforce. 

" Taken out. It is not in now." 

" Stuff and nonsense !" cried the master. 

" So I said, when my clerks brought me word 
to-day that it was not in. The first sent, Green — 
you knov>^ the young dandy; it's but the other day he 
was in the college school — came back and said it 
was not there. Kenneth gave him a row^ing for 
carelessness, and went himself. He came back and 
said it was not there. Then I thought it was time 
to go ; and I went, and took Omer witli me, who 
saw the entry in the book last November, and 
copied part of it. Green was right, and Kenneth 
was riirht ; there is no such entrv there." 

" This is an incredible tale,"' exclaimed Mr. Wil- 
berforce. 



MILDIIED APwKELL. 45 

The old lawyer drew forward his chair, and peered 
into the rector's face. ^' There has been some devilry 
at work — saving your calling." 

" Not saving it at all," retorted Mr. Wilberforce, 
as hot as when he had been practically demon- 
stratino^ of what birch is made in the colleore school- 
room. " Devilry has been at work, in one sense or 
another, and nothing short of devilry_, if it be as 
you say.^' 

" It has not only gone, but there's no trace of 
it's going, or how it went. The register looks as 
smooth and complete as though it had never been 
in any hands but honest ones. But now,"" added 
the lawyer, " there's another thing that is puzzling 
me almost as much as the disappearance itself; and 
that is, how you got to know of it." 

" I heard of it from Travice Arkell." 

'' From Travice Arkell !" 

" Yes, I did. And the way I came to hear of 
it was rather curious," continued the master. 
'- One of my parishioners was thought to be dying, 
and I was sent for in a hurry, out of early school. 
Mr. Prattleton generally attends these calls for 
me, but this poor man had expressed a wish 
that I myself should go to him. It was between 
eight and nine o'clock, and Travice Arkell was 
standing at their gates as I passed, reading a letter 
which the postman had just delivered to him. It 



46 MILDRED ARKELL. 

was from Mrs. Diindyke, with whom the Carrs 
were stopping ^' 

"When was this?'' interrupted Mr. Faimt- 
leroy. 

" The beginning of November. Travice Arkell 
stopped me to tell of the strange news that the 
letter conveyed to him ; that a paper had been 
found in Robert Carr the elder's writing, statins: 
that the marriage had taken place at St. James 
the Less, the morning he and Miss Hughes left 
Westerbur}^, and it would be found duly entered 
in the register. The news appeared to me so ex- 
cessively improbable, that I cautioned Travice 
Arkell against speaking of it, and recommended 
him to keep it to himself until the truth or false- 
hood of it should be ascertained. 

" What made you give him this caution ?" 

" I tell you ; I thought it so improbable that 
any such marriage should have taken place. I 
thought it a hoax, set afloat out of mischief, pro- 
bably by the Carrs of Eckford; and I did not 
choose that my church, or anything in it, should 
be made a jest of publicly. Travice Ai'kell agreed 
with my view, and gave me his promise not to 
mention it. His father was away at the time." 

"Where?" 

" I really forget. I know he had come home 
only the day before from a short visit to London, 



MILDRED ARKELL. 47 

and went out again somewhere the same day. 
Travice said he did not expect him back that 
second time for some days. 

^^Well?" said Mr. Fauntleroy, in his blunt 
manner^ for the master had stopped, in thought. 

'^Wellj the next morning Travice Arkell called 
upon me here. He had had a second letter from 
Mrs. Dundyke, begging him not to mention to any- 
one what she had said about the marriage, for Mrs. 
Carr had received a hasty letter from Mr. Faunt- 
leroy, forbidding her to speak of it to any- 
one. So, after all, that caution that I gave to 
Travice might have been an instinct.^' 

" And do you think he had not mentioned 
it?" 

'^ I feel sure that he has never allowed it to escape 
his lips. He has too great a regard for his aunt, 
Mrs. Dundyke. She feared she had done mischief, 
and was most anxious. On the following Sunday, 
when I was marrying a couple in my church before 
service, and had got the register out, I looked 
back to the date, and there, sure enough, was the 
marriage duly entered." 

" And you have not spoken of it T^ 

" I have not. If, as you say, the marriage is no 
longer there, it is a most strange thing ; an in- 
credible thing. But 1^11 see into it." 

" Somebody must see into it," returned the 



48 MILDRED ARKELL. 

lawyer, as he departed. '' A parish register ought 
to be kept as sacred as the crown jewels." 

Mr. Wilbertbrce — a restless man when anything 
troubled him — started off to Clark Hunt''s, dis- 
turbing that gentleman at his tea. ^' Hunt, follow 
me/' said he, as he took the key from its niche, 
^^ and bring some matches and a candle with you. 
I want to examine the register.''^ 

" If ever I met with the like o' this \" cried Hunt, 
when the master had walked on. " Register, 
register, register ! my legs is aching with the 
tramping backwards and forwards, to that vestry 
to-day.'' 

He walked after ]\Ir. Wilberforce as quickly as 
his lameness would allow. The latter was already 
in the vestry. He procured the key of the safe 
(kept in a secret place which no one knew of save 
himself, the clerk, and the Reverend Mr. Prat- 
tleton) opened it, and laid the book before him. 
Mr. Wilberforce knew, by the date, where the 
entry ought to be, where it had been, and he was 
not many minutes ascertaining that it was no longer 
there. 

" Gone and left no trace, as Fauntleroy said,"" 
he whispered to himself. " How can it have been 
done? The leaf must have been taken out! oh 
yes, it's as complete a thing as ever I saw accom- 
plished : and how is it to be proved that it's gone ? 



MILDKED ARK ELL. 49 

This comes of their careless habit of not pao-ino* 
their leaves in those old days : had they been paged, 
the theft would have been evident. Hunt/'' cried he, 
aloud, raising his head, " this register has been 
tampered with.^-' 

"Law, sir, that's just what that great lawyer, 
Fauntleroy, wanted to persuade me on. He has 
been a-putting it into your head, maybe ; but don't 
you be frighted with any such notion, sir. ' Rob 
the register V says I to him ; ' no, not unless they 
robs me of my eyesight first. It's never touched, 
nor looked at,' says I, 'but when I'm here to take 
care on it.' " 

" A leaf has been taken out. Who has had 
access here ?" 

" Not a soul has never had access to this vestry, 
sir, unless I have been with 'em, except yourself or 
Mr. Prattleton," persisted the old register keeper. 
"It's not possible, sir, that the book has been 
touched." 

" Now don't argue like that. Hunt," testily re- 
turned Mr. Vv^ilberforce, " I tell you that the 
register has been rifled, and it could not have been 
done without access being obtained to it. To whom 
have you entrusted the key of the church ?" 

"Never to nobody, save the two young college 
gents, what comes to play the organ," said the 
clerk, stoutly. 

VOL. III. 4 



50 MILDRED AEKELL. 

" AdcI they could not get access to the register. 
Some one else must have had the key." 

The old man sat down on a chair, opposite Mr. 
Wilberforce ; placing his two hands on his knees, 
he stared very fixedly on vacancy. J\lr. AYilher- 
force, who knew his countenance_, fancied he was 
trying to recal something. 

" I remember a morning, some time ago," cried 
he, slowly, " that one of them senior college gents 
— but that couldn^t have had nothing to do with 
the register." 

"What do you remember?" questioned Mr. 
Wilberforce. 

^' Your asking if anybody had had the key, put 
me in mind of it, sir. One of them college 
seniors ; Lewis, it was ; came to ni}^ house soon 
after I got up. A rare taking he seemed to be 
in ; with fright, or something like it ; and wanted 
me to lend him the key of the church. ^ No, no, 
young gent,^ says I, ''not without the master's 
orders.' He was a panting like anything, and 
looked as resolute as a bear, and when he heard 
that, he snatched the key, and tore off with it. 
Presently, back he comes, saying it was the wrong 
key and wouldn't undo the door. Mr. George 
Prattleton had come round then : Mr. Prattleton 
had told him to ask about the time fixed for a 
funeral — which, by token, I remember was Dame 



MILDKED AEKELL. 51 

Farbery's — and he took the key from Mr. Lewis, 
and hung it up, and railed off at me for trusting 
it to the college gents. Lewis finding he couldn't 
get it from me, went after Mr. George Prattleton, 
and they came Lack, and Mr. George took the 
key from the hook to go to the church with Lewis. 
What it was Lewis had said to him^ I don't 
pertend to guess, but they was both as white as 
corpses — as white I know, as ever was dead 
Dame Furbery inker coffin: which was just about 
then a being screwed down. After all, they 
hung the key up again, and didn^t go into the 
church.^' 

" When was this ?" asked Mr. Wilberforce. 

" It w^as the very day, sir, after our cat's chaney 
saucer w^as done for ; and that was done for the 
day after the grand audit dinner at the deanery. 
Master Henry Arkell, after going into the church 
to practise, couldn't be contented to bring the 
key back and hang it up, like a Christian, but 
must dash it on to the kitchen floor, where it 
spUt the cat^s chaney saucer to pieces, and scat- 
tered the milk_, a-frighting the cat, who had just 
got her nose in it, a'most into fits, and my 
missis too. Well, sir, when I opened my shutters 
the next morning, who should be a standing at 
the gate but Arkell, so I fetched him in to see 
the damage he had done; and it was while he 

4 — 2 



LIBRARY 

UNIVERSIIT OF ILUNOlS 



52 MILDRED ARKELL. 

was in tlie kitchen, a-counting the pieces, that 
Lewis came to the door/^ 

" But this must have been early morning," cried 
Mr. Wilberforee. 

" Somewhere about half after six, sir : it was 
half moonli<4it and half twilight. I remember 
what a briijht clear mornincn it was for No- 
vember." 

" Why, at that hour both Lewis and Arkell 
must have been in their beds, asleep, at my house." 

" Law, sir, who can answer for schoolboys, espe- 
cially them big college gents? When they ought 
to be a-bed, they^re up ; and when they ought to 
be up, they're a-bed. They was both at my house 
that morning." 

Mr. Wilberforee could not make much of the tale, 
except that two of his boarders were out when he had 
deemed them safe in bed ; and he left the church. 
It was dusk then. As he was striding along, in 
an irascible mood, he met Henry Arkell. He 
touched his cap to the master, and was pass- 
ing on. 

" Not so fast, Mr. Arkell. I want a word with 
yoi.." 

Arkell stopped and stood before Mr. Wilberforee, 
his truthful eye and open countenance raised 
fearlessly. 

"I gave you credit for behaving honourably. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 63 

and as a gentleman ought, during the time you 
were residing in my house, but I find I was de- 
ceived. Who gave you leave, pray, to sneak out 
of it at earl}'' morning, when everybody else was in 
bed r 

" I never did, sir,-*^ replied Henry. 

" Take care, Arkell. If there's one fault I punish 
more than another, it is a falsehood ; and that you 
know. I say that you did sneak out of my house 
at untoward and improper hours. '^ 

'^Indeed, sir, I never did,"' he replied with re- 
spectful earnestness. 

The master raised his forefinger, and shook it at 
his pupil. "■ You were down at Hunt^s one morn- 
ing last November, by half-past six, perhaps 
earlier ; 3^ou must have gone down by moonlight 

Ah, I see/' added the master, in an altered 

tone, for a change flashed over Henry Arkell's 
features, " conscience is accusing you of the false- 
hood." 

" No, sir, I told no falsehood. I don't deny that 
I was at Hunt's one morning." 

"Then how can you deny that you stole out of 
my house to get there ? Perhaps you will explain, 
sir.'' 

What was Henry Arkell to do? Explain,in the full 
sense of the word, he could not ; but explain, in a 
degree, he must, for Mr. Wilberforce was not one 



5i MILDRED ARKELL. 

to be trifled with. He was a perfectly ingenuous 
boy, both in manner and character, and Mr. Wilber- 
force had hitherto known him for a truthful one : 
indeed, he put more faith in Arkell than in all the 
rest of the thirty-nine king's scholars. 

^^ Perhaps you will dare to tell me that you 
stopped out all night, instead of sneaking out in 
the morning?''^ pursued the master. 

'^ Yes, sir, I did; but it was not my fault: I was 
kept out.^"* 

" Where were you, and who kept you out ?" 

'^ Oh, sir, if you would be so kind as not to press 
me — for indeed I cannot tell. I was kept out, and 
I could not help myself." 

'^ I never heard so impudent an avowal from any 
boy in my life," proceeded Mr. Wilberforce, when 
he recovered his astonishment. "What was the 
nature of the mischief you were in ? Come ; I will 
know it.^' 

" I was not in any mischief, sir. If I might tell 
the truth, you would say that I was not." 

'^This is most extraordinary behaviour," returned 
the master. " What reason have you for not tell- 
ing the truth ?" 

" Because — because — well, sir, the reason is, that 
I could not speak without getting others into 
trouble. Indeed, sir," he earnestly added, " though 
I did stop out from your house all night_, I did no 



MILDRED ARK ELL. 55 

wrong; I was in no mischief, and it was no fault 
of mine/^ 

Strange perhaps to say, the master believed him : 
from his long experience of the boy, he could be- 
lieve nothing but good of Harry Arkell, and if ever 
words bore the stamp of truth, his did now. 

'^ I am in a hurry at present/^ said the master, 
" but don^t flatter yourself this matter will rest." 

Henry touched his cap again, and the master 
strode on to the residence of the Reverend Mr. 
Prattleton, and entered it without ceremony. Mr. 
Prattleton was seated with his two sons, and with 
George. 

'^ Send the boys away for a minute, will you V 
cried the master to his brother clergyman. 

The boys went away, exceedingly glad to be 
sent. ^'^You can go on with your Greek in the 
other room,''"' said their father. But to that sug- 
gestion they were conveniently deaf, preferring to 
take an evening gallop through some of the more 
obscure streets, where they knocked furiously at 
all the doors, and pulled out a few of the bell- 
wires. 

" An unpleasant affair has happened, Prattleton,''' 
be2:an the master. '^ The re^-ister at St. James's 
has been robbed." 

" The register robbed !" echoed Mr. Prattleton. 
^' Not the book taken?" 



56 MILDRED AEKELL. 

^' Not the book itself. A leaf has been taken out 
of it." 

''How?" 

''We must endeavour to find out how. Hunt 
protests that nobody has had access to it but our- 
selves, save in his presence." 

" I do not suppose they have/^ returned Mr. 
Prattleton. " How could they ? When was it 
taken?" 

" Sometime since the beginning of November. 
And there'll be a tremendous stir over it, as sure as 
that we are sitting here : it was wanted for — for — 
some trial at the next assizes/'' concluded the 
master, recollecting that Mr. Fauntleroy had cau- 
tioned him still not to speak of it. " Fauutleroy^s 
people went to-da}^ to take a copy of it, and found 
it gone ; so Fauntleroy came on to me." 

"You are sure it is gone?" continued Mr. 
Prattleton. " An entry is so easily overlooked." 

" I am sure it is not in the book now : and I read 
it there last November." 

" Well, this is an awkward thing. Have you no 
suspicion ? — no clue ? " 

" Not any. Hunt was telling a tale By the 

way," added Mr. Wilberforce, turning to George 
Prattleton, who had moved himself to a polite dis- 
tance, as if not caring to hear, " you were mixed up 
in that. He says, that last November you and 



MILDRED ARKELL. 57 

Lewis had some secret between you, about the 
church. Lewis went clown to his house one morn- 
ing by moonlig-ht, got the key by stratagem, and 
brought it back, saying it was the wrong one : and 
you then went to the church with him, and both of 
you were agitated. What was it all about? What 
did he want in the church ?'^ 

'^ Oh — something had been left there, I think he 
said, when one of the college boys had gone in to 
practise. That was nothing, Mr. Wilberforce. 
We did not go into the church, after all.'" 

George Prattleton spoke with eagerness, and 
then hastened from the room, but not before Mr. 
Wilberforce had caught a glimpse of his counte- 
nance. 

"What is the matter with George?'^ whispered 
he. 

Mr. Prattleton turned, and looked at the door by 
which he had gone out. ''^With George? he re- 
peated : '' nothing that I know of. Why V 

" He turned as pale as my cravat : just as Hunt 
describes him to have been when he went into the 
church with Lewis. I shall begin to think there is 
a mystery in this.''^ 

" But. not one that touches the register,'^ said 
Mr. Prattleton. ''I'll tell you what that mystery 
was, but you must not bring in me as your infor- 
mant; and don't punish the boy, now it's over. 



58 MILDRED ARKELL. 

Wilberforce ; tliough it was a disgraceful and dan- 
gerous act. It seems that young Arkell — what a 
nice lad that is ! but he comes of a good stock — 
went into St. Jameses one evening to practise, 
and Lewis, who owed him a grudge^ stole after 
him and locked him in, and took back the key to 
Hunt's, where he broke some heirloom of the 
dame's, in the shape of a china saucer, Hunt and 
his wife taking it to be Arkell. Arkell was locked 
in the church all night.-" 

" Locked in the church all night ! '' repeated 
the amazed Mr. Wilberforce. ^' Why the fright 
might have turned him — turned him — stone 
blind V 

" It might have turned him stone dead," re- 
joined Mr. Prattleton. ^^ Lewis, it appears, got 
terrified for the consequences, and as soon as your 
servants were up, he went to Hunt's to get the 
key and let Arkell out. Hunt would not give it 
him, and Lewis appealed to George. That's what 
has sent George out of the room, pale, as you call 
it ; he was afraid lest you should question him too 
closely, and he passed his word to Lewis not to 
betray him." 

" What a villanous rascal V uttered the master. 
" I never liked Lewis, but I would not have given 
him credit for this. Did George tell you ?" 

^' Not he ; he is not aware 1 know it. Lewis, 



MILDRED ARKELL. 59 

some days afterwards, imparted the exploit to my 
boy_, Joe. Joe, in liis turn, imparted it to liis 
brother, under a formidable injunction of secrecy, 
and I happened to overhear them, and became as 
wise as they were/' 

"You ought to have told me this,'' remarked 
Mr. Wilberforce, his countenance bearing its most 
severe expression. 

" Had one of my own boys been guilty of it, I would 
have brought him to you and had him punished in 
the face of the school; but as no harm had come 
of it, I did not care to inform against Lewis : 
though I don't excuse him ; it was a dastardly 
action." 

" Well, this explains what Lewis wanted in the 
church, but it brings us no nearer the affair of the 
register. I think I shall offer a reward for the 
discovery." 

Mr. Wilberforce proceeded home, and into the 
study where his boarders were assembled, some 
half dozen of the head boys. One of them, a 
great tall fellow, stood on his head on a table, his 
feet touching the wall. ''Who's that ?" uttered 
the master. " Is that the way you prepare your 
lessons, sir?" 

Down clattered the head and the feet, and the 
gentleman stood upright on the floor. It was 
Lewis senior. Mr. Wilberforce took a seat, and 



60 MILDRED AKKELL. 



the bo\s held their breath : they saw something 



" Vaughan/^ 

" Yes, sir/' 

"Did you lock Henry Arkell up in St. James's 
Church, and compel him to pass a night there ?" 

Mr. Vaughau opened all the eyes he possessed. 

" I, sir ! I have not locked him up, sir. I 
dont think Arkell is locked up," added Yaughan, 
in the confusion of his ideas. " I saw him talking 
to you, sir, just now, in Wage-street .''' 

Lewis pricked up his ears, which had turned of 
a fiery red ; then Arkell had been locked in ! Mr. 
AYilberforce sharply seized upon Yaughan's words. 

" What brought you in Wage-street, pray T' 

" If you please, sir,"*' coughed Y'aughan, feeling 
he had betrayed himself, ^^ I only went out for an 
exercise book. I finished mine last night, sir, and 
forgot it till I went to do my Latin just now. I 
didn^'t stop anywhere a minute, sir ; I ran there 
and back as quick as lightning. Here's the book, 
sir." 

Believing as much of this as he chose, ^L*. 
Wilberforce did not pursue the subject. '^ Then 
which of you gentlemen vras it who did shut up 
Arkell ?" asked he, gazing round. " Lewis, senior, 
what is the matter with you, that you are skulking 
behind? Did ^o?^ do it?" 



MILDRED ARKELL. 61 

Lewis saw that all was up. '' That canting 
hound has been peaching at last," quoth he to 
himself. '^ I laid a bet with Prattleton he'd 
do it." 

" It is the most wicked and cowardly action that 
I believe ever disgraced the college school," con- 
tinued Mr. Wilberforce, " and it depends upon how 
you meet it, Lewis^ whether or not I shall expel 
you. Equivocate to me now, if you dare. Had it 
come to my knowledge at the time, you should 
have been flogged till you could not stand, and 
ignominiously expelled. Flogged you will be, as 
it is. Do you know, sir, that he might have died 
through it ?" 

Lewis hung his head, wishing Arkell had died ; 
and then he could not have told the master. 

'^ I think the best punishment will be, to lock 
you up in St. James's all the night, and see how 
you will like it," continued Mr. Wilberforce. 

Lewis wondered whether he w^as serious ; and 
the perspiration ran down him at the thought. 
" He was not locked in all night," he said, sul- 
lenly, by way of propitiating the master. " When 
we went to open the church, he was gone." 

'' Gone ! What do you mean now ?" 

" He had got out somehow, sir, for Hunt said 
he had just seen him, and when I ran back to 
morning school, he was in the college hall. Mr. 



62 MILDRED ARKELL. 

George Prattleton advised me not to make a 
stir, to know how he had got out, but to let it 
drop/^ 

As Lewis spoke, Mr. Wilberforce suddenly re- 
membered that Hunt said Henry Arkell was 
in his kitchen, when Lewis came, frightened, and 
thumping for the key. It occurred to him now, 
for the first time, to wonder how that could have 
been. 

" When you locked Arkell in, what did you do 
with the key?" 

"I took it to Hunt's, sir/' 

"And gave it to Hunt?" 

"Yes, sir. That is," added Lewis, thinking it 
might be as well to be correct, " I pushed it into 
the kitchen, where Hunt was." 

" And broke Dame Hunt's saucer," retorted Mr. 
Wilberforce. " When did you have the key again. 
Speak up, sir ?" 

" I didn't have it again, sir," returned Lewis. 
" The key I took from the hook, next morning, 
would not fit into the lock, and I took it back. 
Hunt said it was the right key, and George 
Prattleton said it was the key; but I am sure 
it was not, although George Prattleton called me a 
fool for thinking so." 

The master revolved all this in his mind, and 
thought it very strange. He was determined to 



MILDRED AKKELL. 63 

come to the bottom of it, and despatched Vaughan 
to ArkelPs house to fetch him. The two boys 
came back togeth(3r_, and Mr. Wilberforce, without 
circumlocution, addressed the latter. 

" When this worthy companion of yours/' waving 
his hand contemptuously towards Lewis, ''locked 
you in the church, how did you get out ?'' 

Henry Arkell glanced at Lewis, and hesitated 
in his answer. " I can't tell, sir.'' 

" You can't tell !" exclaimed Mr. Wilberforce. 
" Did you walk out of it in your sleep ? Did you 
get down from a window ? — or through the locked 
door ? How did you get out, I ask ?" 

Before there was time for any reply, the master's 
servant entered, and said the Kev. Mr. Prattleton 
was waiting to speak to the master immediately, 
Mr. Wilberforce, leaving the study door open, went 
into the opposite room. Mr. Prattleton, who stood 
there, came forward eagerly. 

" Wilberforce, a thought has struck me, and I 
came in to suggest it. When the boy passed the 
night in the church, did he get playing with the 
register ?" 

" He would not do it ; Arkell would not," spoke 
the master, in the first flush of thought. 

''Not mischievously; but he may have got 
fingering anything he could lay his hands upon — 
and it is the most natural thins: he would do, to 



64 MILDRED AEKELL. 

while away the long hours. A spark may have 
falleii on the leaf, and '' 

" How could he get a light ? — or find the key of 
the safe ?" interrupted. Mr. Wilberforce. 

" Schoolboys can ferret out anything, and he 
may have found its hiding-place. As to a light, 
half the hoys keep matches in their pockets." 

Mr. AVilberforce mused upon the suggestion till 
it grew into a probability. He called in Arkell, 
and shut the door. 

*^ Now," said he, confronting him, " will you 
speak the truth to me, or will you not ?" 

"I have hitherto spoken the truth to you, sir," 
answered Arkell, in a tone of pain. 

^' Well ; I believe you have : it would be bad for 
you now, if you had not. It is about that register, 
you know," added Mr. Wilberforce, speaking 
slowly, and staring at him. 

There was but one candle on the table, and 
Henry Arkell pulled out his handkerchief and 
rubbed it over his face : between the handkerchief 
and the dim light, the master fiiiled to detect any 
siffus of emotion. 

''Did you get fingering the register-book in 
St. James's, the night you were in the church ?" 

'' No, sir, that I did not," he readily answered. 

" Had you a light in the church ?'' 

"You boys have a propensity for concealing 



MILDRED ARKELL. 65 

matches in your clothes^ in defiance of the risk you 
run," interrupted ^Ir. Prattleton. " Had you any 
that night V' 

" I had no matches, and I had no light/' repKed 
Henry. '' None of the boys keep matches about 
them except those who " — smoke, was the ominous 
word which had all but escaped his lips — " who are 
careless." 

'^ Pray what did you do with yourself all the 
time?" resumed the master. 

" I played the organ for a long while, and then 
I lay down on the singers' seat, and went to sleep." 

^' Now comes the point : how did you get out ?" 

^' I can't say anything about it, sir, except that 
I found the door open towards morning, and I 
walked out." 

'^ You must have been dreaming, and fancied it," 
said the master. 

" No, sir, I was awake. The door was open, and 
I went out." 

" Is that the best tale you have got to tell ?" 

" It is all I can tell, sir. I did get out that 
way." 

" You may go home for the present," said Mr. 
Wilberforce, in anger. 

"Are you satisfied?" asked Mr. Prattleton, as 
Arkell retired. 

"I am satisfied that he is innocent as to the 

VOL. III. 5 



66 MILDRED ARKELL. 

register ; but not as to how he escaped from the 
church. Allowing it to be as he says — and I have 
always found him so strictly truthful — that he 
found the door open in the middle of the night, 
how did it come open? Who opened it? For 
what purpose ?" 

'^It is an incomprehensible aflPair altogether," 
said the Rev. Mr. Prattleton. " Let us sit down 
and talk it over." 

As Arkell left the room, Lewis, senior, appeared 
at the opposite door, propelling forth the fire-tongs, 
a note held between them. 

'' This is for you,'' cried he, rudely, to Arkell, 
who took the note. Lewis flung the tongs back in 
their place. " My hands shouldn^t soil themselves 
by touching yours," said he. 

When Arkell got out, he opened the letter under 
a gas-lamp, and read it as well as he could for the 
blots. The penmanship was Lewis, junior's. 

" Mr. Arkell, — Has you have chozen to peech 
to the master, like a retch has you ar, we give you 
notise that from this nite you will find the skool 
has hot has the Inphernal Regeons, a deal to hot for 
you. And my brother dont care a phether for the 
oisting he is to get, for he'll serve you worce. 
And if 3'ou show this dockiment to any sole, 
you'l be a dowble-died sneek, and we will thresh 



MILDRED ARKELL. 67 

your life out of you^ and then duck you in the 



Henry Arkell tore the paper to bits, and ran 
home, laughing at the spelling. But it was a very 
fair specimen of the orthography of Westerbury 
collegiate school. 



MILDRED ARK ELL, 



CHAPTER IV. 



ASSIZE SATURDAY, 



To attempt to describe the state of Mr. FauntJeroy 
would be a vain effort. It was the practice of 
that respected solicitor never to advance a frac- 
tion of money out of his pocket for any mortal 
client, unless the repayment was as safe and sure 
as the Bank of England. He had deemed the 
return so in the case of Mrs. Carr, and had really ad- 
vanced a good bit of money ; and now there was 
no marriage recorded in the register. 

How had it gone out of it? Mr. Fauntleroy^s 
first thought, in his desperation, was to suspect 
Mynn and Mynn, clean-handed practitioners 
though he knew them to be, as practitioners went, 
of having by some sleight of hand spirited the 
record away. But for the assertion of Mr. Wil- 
berforce, that he had read it, the lawyer would have 
definitely concluded that it had never been there, 
in spite of Mr. Omer and his pencilled names. 
He went tearing over to Mynn and My mi's in a 



MILDRED ARKELL. 69 

fine state of excitement^ could see neither Mr. 
Mynu nor Mr. George Mynn, hired a gig at Eck- 
ford, and drove over to Mr. Mynn^s house^ two 
miles distant. Mr. Mynn_, strong in the gout, and 
wrapped up in flannel and cotton wool in his 
warm sitting-room_, thought at first his professional 
brother had gone mad, as he listened to the tale 
and the implied accusation, and then expressed his 
absolute disbelief that any record of any such 
marriage had ever been there. 

" You must be mad, Fauntleroy ! Go and tamper 
with a register ! — suspect us of stealing a page out 
of a church's register ! If you were in your senses, 
and I had the use of my legs, Vd kick you out of 
my house for your impudence. I might just as 
well turn round and tell you, you had been robbing 
the archives of the Court of Chancery.'"' 

"Nobody knew of the record's being there but 
you, and I, and the rector," debated Mr. Faun- 
tleroy, wiping his great face. " You say you went 
and saw it." 

" I say I went and didn't see it," roared the 
afflicted man, who had a dreadful twinge just then. 
" It seems — if this story of yours is true — that I 
never heard it was there until it was gone. Don't 
be a simpleton, Fauntleroy." 

In his heart of hearts, of course Mr. Fauntleroy 
did not think Mynn and Mynn had been culpable, 



70 MILDRED ARKELL. 

only in his passion. His voice began to cool down 
to calmness. 

" I^m ready to accuse the whole world, and my- 
self into the bargain/^ he said. " So would you 
be, had you been played the trick. I wish you'd 
tell me quietly what you know about the matter 
altogether."'' 

** That's where you should have begun/' said old 
Mynn. ^^ We never heard of any letter having 
been found, setting forth that the record of the 
marriage was in the register of St. James's, never 
thought for a moment that there had been any 
marriage, and I don't think it now, for the matter 
of that," he added, pa7' imrenilihe, " until the day 
our new manager, Littelby, took possession, and I 
and George were inducting him a little into our 
approaching assize and other causes. We came to 
Carr versus Carr, in due course, and then Littelby, 
evidently surprised, asked how it was that the 
letter despatched to you — to you, Mr. Fauntleroy, 
and which letter it seems you kept to yourself, and 
gave us no notice of — had not served to put an end 
to the cause. Naturally 1 and my brother inquired 
what letter Mr. Littelby alluded to, and what were 
its contents, and then he told us that it was a letter 
written by Robert Carr, of Holland, stating that 
the marriage had taken place at the church of St. 
James the Less, and that its record would be found 



MILDRED ARKELL. 71 

entered on tlie register. My impression at the first 
moment was — and it was George's very strongly — 
that there had been nothing of the sort ; no mar- 
riage, and consequently no record ; but immediately 
a doubt arose whether any fraud had been committed 
by means of making a false entry in the register. 
I went off at once to Westerbury, fully determined 
to detect and expose this fraud — and my eyes are 
pretty clear for such things — I paid my half-crown, 
and went with the clerk and examined the register, 
and found I had my journey for nothing. There 
was no such record in the register — no mention 
whatever of the marriage. That is all I know of 
the affair, Mr. Fauntleroy." 

Had Mr. Fauntleroy talked till now, he could 
have learnt no more. It evidently was all that his 
confrere knew ; and he went back to "\A' esterbury as 
wise as he came, and sought the house of Mr. Wil- 
berforce. The record must have been taken out 
between the beginning of November and the 2nd 
of December, he told the master. Omer, and the 
master himself, had both seen it at the former time ; 
old Mynn searched on the 2nd of December, and 
it was gone. 

This information did not help Mr. Wilberforce 
in his perplexity, as to who could have tampered 
with it. It was impossible but that his suspicion 
should be directed to the night already spoken of, 



72 MILDRED ARK ELL. 

when Arkell was locked up in the church, and 
seemed to have got out in a manner so mysterious 
nobody knew liow. Arkell adhered to his story : 
he had found the door open in the night, and 
walked out; and that was all that could be got 
from him. The master took him at his word. Had 
he pressed him much, he might have heard more ; 
had he only given him a hint that he knew the 
register had been robbed, and that both trouble and 
injustice were likely to arise from it, he might have 
heard all; for Henry fully meant to keep his word 
with George Prattleton, and declare the truth, if a 
necessity arose for it. But it appeared to be the 
policy of both the master and Mr. Fauntleroy to keep 
the reo^ister out of sis^ht and discussion alto2^ether. 
Not a word of the loss was suffered to escape. Mr. 
Fauntleroy had probably his private reasons for 
this, and the rector shrank from any publicity, 
because the getting at the register seemed to 
reflect some carelessness on him and his mode of 
securing it. 

Meanwhile the public were aware that some 
internal commotion was agitating the litigants in 
the great cause Carr versus Carr. What it was, 
they could not penetrate. They knew that a young 
lady, Mrs. Carr the widow, was stopping in Wes- 
terbury, and had frequent interviews with Mr. 
Fauntleroy; and they saw that the renowned 



MILDRED ARKELL. 73 

lawyer himself was in a state of ferment ; but not 
a breath touching the register in any way had 
escaped abroad, and George Prattleton and Henry 
Arkell were in ignorance that there was trouble 
connected with it. George bad ventured to put a 
question to the Reverend Mr. Prattleton^ regarding 
Mr. Wilberforce^s visit in connection with it, 
and was peremptorily ordered to mind his own 
business. 

And the whole city, ripe for gossip and for other 
people^s affairs, as usual, lived in a perpetual state 
of anticipation of the assizes, and the cause that 
was to come on at them. 

It is probable that this blow to Mr. Fauntleroy 
— and he resrarded it in no less a lio^ht — rendered 
him more severe than customary in his other affairs. 
On the first of March, another ten pound was due 
to him from Peter Arkell. The month came in, 
and the money was not paid; and Mr. Fauntleroy 
immediately threatened harsh measures : that he 
would sell him up for the whole of the debt. He 
had had judgment long ago, and therefore possessed 
the power to do it ; and Peter Arkell went to him. 
But the grace he pleaded for, Mr. Fauntleroy re- 
fused longer to give; refused it coarsely and 
angrily; and Peter was tempted to remind him of 
the past. Never yet had he done so. 

'' Have you forgotten what I did for you?'' he 



74 MILDRED ARKELL. 

asked. ^' I saved you once from what was perhaps 
worse than debt/^ 

^' And what if you did V returned the strong- 
minded lawyer — not to speak more plainly. ''I 
paid you back again. ''^ 

" Yes; but how ? In driblets,, which did me no 
good. And if you did repay me^ does that blot 
out the obligation? If any one man should be 
lenient to another, you ought to be so to me, 
Fauntleroy." 

" Have I not been lenient ?"" 

^' No. It is true, you have not taken the ex- 
treme measures you threaten now, but what with 
the sums you have forced me to pay, the costs, the 
interest, I know not what all, for I have never 
clearly understood it, you have made my life one of 
worry, hardship, and distress. But for that large 
sum I had to pay suddenly for you I might have 
done differently in the world. It was my ruin ; 
yes, I assert it, for it is the simple truth, the find- 
ing of that sum was my ruin. It took from me all 
hope of prosperity, and I have been obliged ever 
since to be a poor, struggling man.^'' 

" I paid you, I say ; what d^ye mean V' roughly 
spoke Mr. Fauntleroy. 

Peter Arkell shook his head. He had said 
his say, and was too gentle-minded, too timid- 
mannered to contend. But the interview did 



MILDRED ARKELL. 75 

him no good : it only served to farther anger Mr. 
Faun tier oy. 

A few days more^, and Assize Saturday came in 
— as it is called in the local phraseology. The 
judges were expected in some time in the afternoon 
to open court, and the town was alive with bustle 
and preparation. On this bright day — and it was 
one of the brightest March ever gave us — a final, 
peremptory, unmistakable missive arrived for Peter 
Arkell from Mr. Fauntleroy. And yet the man 
boasted in it of his leniency of giving him a f6w hours 
more grace ; it even dared to hint that perhaps Mr. 
Arkell, if applied to, might save his home. But the 
gist of it was, that if the ten pounds were not paid 
that afternoon by six o^ clock, at Mr. Fauntleroy 's 
oflSce, on Monday morning he should proceed to 
execution. 

It was not a pleasant letter for Mrs. Peter 
Arkell. Bite received it. Peter was out; and she 
lay on the sofa in great agitation, as might be seen 
from the hectic on her cheeks, the unnatural bright- 
ness of her eyes. How lovely she looked as she 
lay there, a lace cap shading her delicate features, 
no description could express. The improvement 
so apparent in her when they returned from the 
sea-side had not lasted; and for the last few 
weeks she had faded ominousl}'. 

The cathedral clock chimed out the quarter to 



76 MILDRED ARKELL. 

three, and the bell rang out for service. It had 
been going some time, when Henry, who had been 
hard at his studies in the little room that was once 
exclusively his father's, came in. The great like- 
ness between mother and son was more apparent 
than ever, and the tall, fine boy of sixteen had lost 
none of his inherited beauty. It was the same 
exquisite face ; the soft, dark eyes, the transparent 
complexion, the pure features. Perhaps I have 
dwelt more than I ought on this boy^s beauty ; but 
he is no imaginary creation; and it was of that 
rare order that enchains the eye and almost enforces 
mention whenever seen, no matter how often. It 
is still vivid in the remembrance of AVesterbury. 

" I am going now, mamma." 

" You will be late, Henry." 

Something in the tone of the voice struck on his 
ear, and he looked attentively at his mother. The 
signs of past emotion were not quite obliterated 
from her face. 

*' Mamma, you have been crying." 

It was of no use to deny it ; indeed the sudden 
accusation brought up fresh tears then. Painful 
matters had been kept as much as possible from 
Henry ; but he could not avoid knowing of the 
general embarrassments : unavoidable, and, so to 
speak, honourable embarrassments. 

" "What is it now ?" he urgently asked. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 77 

" Nothing" new ; only the old troubles over and 
over again. Of course, the longer they go on, the 
worse they get. Never mind, dear; you cannot 
mend matters, so there^s no necessity for allowing 
them to trouble you. There is an invitation come 
for you from the Palmers'. I told Lucy to put the 
note on the mantelpiece." 

He saw a letter lying there and opened it. His 
colour rose vividly as he read, and he turned to 
look at the direction. It was addressed " Mr. 
Peter Arkell;" but Henry had read it then. 

" You see, they want you to spend ^Monday with 
them at Heath Hall, and as it will be the judges' 
holiday, you can get leave from college and do so.'' 

" Mother," he interrupted — and every vestige of 
colour had forsaken his sensitive face — ^^ what does 
this letter mean ?" 

Mrs. Arkell started up and clasped her hands. 
" Oh, Henry ! what have you been reading? What 
has Lucy done ? She has left out the wrong letter. 
That was not meant for you." 

" Does it mean a prison for papa ?" he asked, 
controlling his voice and manner to calmness, 
though his heart turned sick with fear. ^^ You 
must tell me all, mother, now I have read this." 

*■'' Perhaps it does, Henry. Or else the selling up 
of our home. I scarcel}' know what myself, except 
that it means great distress and confusion." 



78 MILDRED ARKELL. 

He conld hardly speak for consternation. But^ 
if he understood the letter aright, a sum of ten 
pounds would for the present avert it. " It is not 
niuch/^ he said aloud to his mother. 

'^It is a great deal to us, Henry; moi*e than we 
know where to find." 

"Papa could horrow it from Mr. Arkell.'^ 

" I am sure he will not, let the consequences be 
what they may. I don't wonder. If you only 
knew, my dear, how much, how often, he has had 
to horrow from William Arkell — ^kind, generous 
William Arkell ! — you could hardly wish him to." 

" But what will be done ?" he urged. 

'' I don't know. Unless things come to the 
crisis they have so long threatened. Child,'' she 
added, bursting into tears, " in spite of my firmly- 
seated trust, these petty anxieties are wearing me 
out. Every time a knock comes to the door, I 
shiver and tremble, lest it should be people come 
to ask for money which we cannot pay. Henry, 
you will be late." 

" Plenty of time, mamma. I timed myself one 
day, and ran from this to the cloister entrance in 
two minutes and a half. Are you being pressed 
for much besides this ?" he continued, touching the 
letter. 

'' Not very much for anything else," she replied. 
" That is the worst : if that were settled, I think 



MILDRED ARKELL. 79 

we might manage to stave off the rest till brighter 
dsiys come round. If we can but retain our home ! 
— several times it would have gone, but for Mr. 
ArkelL But I was wrong to speak of this to you/' 
she sighed : '^ and I am wrong to give way, myself. 
It is not often that I do. God never sent a burden, 
but He sent strength to bear it : and we have 
always, hitherto, been wonderfully helped. Henry, 
you will surely be late.^^ 

He slowly took his elbow from the mantelpiece, 
where it had been leaning. "No. But if I were, 
it would be something new : it is not often they 
have to mark me late." 

Kissing his mother, he walked out of the house 
in a dreamy mood, and with a slow step ; not with 
the eager look and quick foot of a schoolboy, in 
dread of being marked late on the cathedral roll. 
As he let the gate swing to, behind him, and turned 
on his way, a hand was laid upon his shoulder. 
Henry looked round, and saw a tall, aristocratic 
man, looking down upon him. In spite of his 
mind's trouble, his face shone with pleasure. 

" Oh, Mr. St. John ! Are you in Westerbury ?'' 

" Well, I think you have pretty good ocular 
demonstration of it. Harry, you have grown out 
of all knowledge : you will be as tall as my lanky 
self, if you go on like this. How is Mrs. Arkell ?'' 

*' Not any better, thank you. I am so very pleased 



80 MILDRED AEKELL. 

to see you/^ he continued: ^^but I cannot stop 
now. The bell has been going ten minutes/^ 

" In the choir still ? Are you the senior boy ?" 

" Senior chorister as before, but not senior boy 
yet. Prattleton is senior. Jocelyn went to Oxford 
in January. Did you come home to-day ?" 

" Of course. I came in with the barristers." 

" But you are not a barrister ?" returned Henry, 
half puzzled at the words. 

"la barrister ! I am nothing- but my idle self, 
the heir of all the St. Johns. How is your friend. 
Miss Beauclerc ?" 

" She is very well,''^ said Henry ; and lie turned 
away his head as he answered. Did St. John^s 
heart beat at the name, as his did, he wondered. 

" Harry, I must see your gold medal. '^ 

'' Oh, 1^11 fetch it out in a minute : it is only in 
the parlour.^" 

He ran in, and came out with the pretty toy 
hanging to its blue ribbon. Mr. St. John took it 
in his hand. 

"The dean displayed taste,^^ was his remark. 
" Westerbury cathedral on one side, and the inscrip- 
tion to you on the other. There; put it up, and 
be off. I don't want you to be marked late through 
me/' 

There was not another minute to be lost, so 
Henry slipped the medal into his jacket-pocket. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 81 

flew away, and got on to the steps in his surplice 
one minute before the dean came in. 

There was a bad practice prevailing in the col- 
lege school, chiefly resorted to by the senior boys : 
it was that of pledging their goods and chattels. 
Watches, chains, silver pencil-cases, books, or any- 
thing else available, were taken to Rutterley, the 
pawnbroker's, without scruple. Of course this was 
not known to the masters. A tale was told of 
Jones tertius having taken his surplice to Rutter- 
ley's one Monday morning ; and, being unable to 
redeem it on the Saturday, he had lain in bed all 
day on the Sunday, and sent word to the head 
master that he had sprained his ankle. On the 
Monday, he limped into the school, apparently in 
excruciating pain, to the sympathy of the masters, 
and intense admiration of the senior boys. Henry 
Arkell had never been guilty of this practice, but 
he was asking himself, all college time, why he 
should not be, for once, and so relieve the pressure 
at home. His gold watch, the gift of Mr. Arkell, 
was worth, at his own calculation, twenty pounds, 
and he thought there could be no difficulty in 
pledging it for ten. "It is not an honourable 
thing, I know," he reasoned with himself; "but 
the boys do it every day for their own pleasures, 
and surely I may in this dreadful strait.^' 

Service was over in less than an hour, and he 

VOL. III. 6 



82 MILDRED ARKELL. 

left the cathedral by the front entrance. Being 
Saturday afternoon, there was no school. The 
streets were crowded; the hii^h sheriff and his pro- 
cession had already gone out to meet the judges, 
and many gazers lingered, waiting for their return. 
Henry hastened through them, on his way to the 
pawnbroker's. Possessed of that sensitive, refined 
temperament, had he been going into the place to 
steal, he could not have felt more shame. The shop 
was partitioned off into compartments or boxes, so 
that one customer should not see another. If Henry 
Arkell could but have known his ill-luck ! In the 
box contigruous to the one he entered, stood Alfred 
Aultane, the boy next below him in the choir, who 
had stolen down with one of the family table- 
spoons, which he had just been protesting to the 
pawnbroker was his own, and that he would have 
it out on Monday without fail, for his godfather 
the counsellor was coming in with the judges, and 
never failed to give him half a sovereign. But that 
disbelieving pawnbroker obstinately persisted in 
refusing to have anything to do with the spoon, 
for he knew the Aultane crest; and Mr. Alfred 
stood biting his nails in mortification. 

'' Will you lend me ten pounds on this ?" asked 
Henry, coming in, and not suspecting that anybody 
was so near. 

^'^ Ten pounds V uttered Rutterley, after examin- 



MILDRED ARKELL. 83 

iiig the watch. " You college gentlemen have got 
a conscience ! I could not give more than half." 

" That would be of no use : I must have ten. I 
shall be sure to redeem it, Mr. Rutterley." 

" I am not afraid of that. The college boys 
mostly redeem their pledges ; I will say that for 
them. I will lend you six pounds upon it, not a 
farthmg more. What can you be wanting with 
so large a sum ?" 

" That is my business, if you please," returned 
Henry, civilly. 

'' Oh, of course. Six pounds : take it, or leave 
it." 

A sudden temptation flashed across Henry^s mind. 
What if he pledged the gold medal? But for his 
having it in his pocket, the thought would not have 
occurred to him. " But how can I?" he mentally 

argued " the gift of the dean and chapter ! But 

it is my own," temptation v^hispered again, '' and 
surely this is a righteous cause. Yes : I will risk 
it : and if I can't redeem it before, it must wait till 
I get my money from the choir. So he put the 
watch and the gold medal side by side on the coun- 
ter, and received two tickets in exchange, and eiorht 
sovereigns and four half-sovereigns. 

" Be sure keep it close, Mr. Eutterley," he en- 
joined; "you see my name is on it, and there is 
no other medal like it in the town. I would not 

G— 2 



84 MILDRED ARKELL. 

have it known that I had done this, for a hundred 
times its worth." 

" All right/^ answered Mr. Rutterley ; '' things 
left with me are never seen." But Alfred Aultane, 
from the next box, had contrived both to hear and 
see. 

Henry Arkell was speeding to the office of Mr. 
Fauntleroy, when he heard sounds behind him 
" Iss — iss — I say ! Iss V 

It was Aultane. " What became of you that you 
were not at college this afternoon ?" demanded 
Henry, who, as senior chorister, had much autho- 
rity over the nine choristers under him. 

'^ College be jiggered ! I stopped out to see the 
show^; and it isn^t come yet. If Wilberforce kicks 
up a row, I shall swear my mother kept me to make 
calls with her. I say, Arkell, you couldn't do a 
fellow a service, could you ?" 

Henry was surprised at the civil, friendly tone — 
never used by some of the boys to him. " If I can, 
I will," said he. "What is it?" 

" Lend me ten bob, in gold. I ifiust get it : it's 
for something that can't wait. Til pay you back 
next week. I know you must have as much about 
you." 

''All the money I have about me is w^anted for 
a specific purpose. I have not a sixpence that I can 
lend : if I had, you should be welcome to it." 



MILDRED ARKELL. 85 

" Nasty mean wretch !" grunted Aultane, in his 
heart. '^ Wont I serve him out V^ 

The cathedral bells had been for some time ring- 
ing merrily, giving token that the procession had 
met the judges, and was nearing the city, on its 
return. Just then a blast was heard from the 
trumpets of the advancing heralds, and Aultane tore 
away to see the sight. 



86 MILDRED ARK ELL. 



CHAPTER V. 

ASSIZE SUNDAY. 

The next day was Assize Sunday. A dense crowd 
collected early round the doors of the cathedral, 
and, as soon as they were opened, rushed in, and 
took possession of the edifice, leaving vacant only 
the pulpit, the bishop's throne, and the locked-up 
seats. It was the custom for the bishop (if in 
Westerbury), the dean and chapter, and the forty 
king's scholars, to assemble just inside the front 
entrance and receive the judges, who were attended 
in state to the cathedral, just as they had been 
attended into Westerbury the previous afternoon, 
the escort being now augmented by the mayor 
and corporation, and an overflowing shoal of bar- 
risters. 

The ten choristers were the first to take up their 
standing at the front entrance. They were soon 
followed by the rest of the king's scholars, the sur- 
plices of the whole forty being primly starched for 
the occasion. They had laid in their customary 



MILDRED ARKELL. 87 

supply of pins_, for it was the boys' pleasure, during 
the service on Assize Sunday, to stick pins into 
people^s backs, and pin women^s clothes together ; 
the density of the mob permitting full scope 
to the delightful amusement, and preventing de- 
tection. 

The thirty king^s scholars bustled in from the 
cloisters two by two, crossed the body of the 
cathedral to the grand entrance, and placed them- 
selves at the head of the choristers. Which was 
wrong : they ought to have gone below them. 
Henry Arkell, as senior chorister, took precedence 
of all when in the cathedral ; but not when out of 
it, and that was a somewhat curious rule. Out of 
the cathedral, Arkell was under Prattleton; the 
latter, as senior boy, being head of all. He told 
Prattleton to move down. f 

Prattleton declined. ''Then we must move up,'' 
observed Henry. " Choristers." \ 

He was understood : and the choristers moved -^ . 
above the king's scholars. ^ 

''What do you mean by that?" demanded 
Prattleton. " How dare you disobey me, Mr. 
Arkell ?'' 

"How dare you disobey me?" was Henry 
Arkell's retort, but he spoke civilly. " I am 
senior here, and you know it, Prattleton." It 
must be understood that this sort of clashing could 



88 MILDRED ARKELL. 

only occur on occasions like the present : on ordi- 
nary Sundays and on saints^ days the choristers 
and king^s scholars did not come in contact in the 
cathedral. 

*^ V\\ let you know who's senior/^ said Prattleton. 
'^Choristers, move down; you juniors, do you 
hear me? Move down, or I'll have you hoisted 
to-morrow/' 

" If Mr. ArkeU tells us, please, sir," responded 
a timid junior, who fancied Mr. Prattleton looked 
particularly at him. 

The choristers did not stir, and Prattleton 
was savage. " King's scholars, move up, and 
shove." 

Some of the king's scholars hesitated, especially 
those of the lower school. It was no light matter 
to disobey the senior chorister in the cathedral. 
Others moved up, and proceeded to "shove." 
Henry ArkeU calmly turned to one of his own 
juniors. 

" Hardcast, go into the vestry, and ask Mr. 
Wilberforce to step here. Should he have gone 
into college, fetch him out of the chanting- 
desk." 

^'Remain where you are, Hardcast," foamed 
Prattleton. "1 dare you to stir." 

Hardcast, a little chap of ten, was already off, 
but he turned round at the word. " I am not 



MILDRED ARKELL, 89 

under your orders, Mr. PrattletoTi_, when the senior 
chorister's present/' 

A few minutes, and then the Reverend Mr. 
Wilberforce, in his surplice and hood, was seen 
advancing. Hardcast had fetched him out of the 
chanting- desk. 

" What's all this ? what hubbub are you boys 
making? Fll flog you all to-morrow. Arkell, 
Prattleton, what's the matter?" 

" I thought it better to send for you, sir, than 
to have a disturbance here," said Arkell. 

^' A disturbance here ! You had better not 
attempt it." 

" Don't the king^s scholars take precedence of 
the choristers, sir?" demanded Prattleton. 

" No, they don't," returned the master. '^ If 
you have not been years enough in the college to 
know the rules, Mr. Prattleton, you had better 
return to the bottom of school, and learn them. 
Arkell, in this place, you have the command. 
King's scholars move down, and be quick over it : 
and I'll flog you all round," concluded Mr. Wil- 
berforce, " if you strike up a dispute in college 
again." 

The master turned tail, and strode back as fast 
as his short legs would carry him : for the dean 
and chapter, marshalled by a verger and the bedes- 
men, were crossing the cathedral ; and a flourish 



90 MILDRED ARKELL. 

of trumpets, outside, told of the approacli of the 
judges. The Keverend Mr. Wilberforce was gomg 
to take the chanting for an old minor canon whose 
voice was cracked, and he would hardly recover 
breath to begin. 

The choristers all grinned at the master's de- 
cision, save Arkell and Aultane, junior : the latter, 
though second chorister, took part with Prattleton, 
because he hated Arkell ; and as the judges passed 
in their flowing scarlet robes with the trains held 
up behind, and their imposing wigs, so terrible to 
look at, the bows of the choristers were much more 
gracious than those of the king's scholars. The 
additional mob, teeming in after the judges' pro- 
cession, was unlimited; and a rare field had the 
boys and their pins that day. 

The hubbub and the bustle of the morning 
passed, and the cathedral bell was again tolling out 
for afternoon service. Save the dust, and there 
was plenty of that, no trace remained of the 
morning's scene. The king^s scholars were already 
in their seats in the choir, and the ten choristers 
stood at the choir entrance, for they always waited 
there to go in with the dean and chapter. One of 
them, and it was Mr. Wilberforce's own son, had 
made a mistake in the morning in fastening his own 
surplice to a countrj^woman's purple stuff gown, 
instead of tAVO gowns together; and, when they 



MILDRED ARKELL. 91 

came to part company, the surplice proved the 
weakest. The consequence was an enormous rent, 
and it had just taken the nine other choristers and 
three lay-clerks five minutes and seventeen pins, 
fished out of different pockets, to do it up in any 
way decent. Young Wilberforce, during the process, 
rehearsing a tale over in his mind, for home, about 
that horrid rusty nail that would stick out of the 
vestry door. 

The choristers stood facing each other, five on a 
side, and the dean and canons would pass between 
them when they came in. They stood at an 
equidistance, one from the other, and it was high 
treason against the college rules for them to move 
an inch from their places. Ai'kell headed one line, 
Aultane the other, the two being face to face. 
Suddenly a college boy, who was late, came flying 
from the cloisters and dashed into the choir, to 
crave the keys of the schoolroom from the senior 
boy, that he might procure his surplice. It was 
Lewis junior ; so, against the rules, Prattleton con- 
descended to give him the keys ; almost any other 
boy he would have told to whistle for them, and 
marked him up for punishment as "absent.'^ 
Prattleton chose to patronise him, on account of his 
friendship with Lewis senior. Lewis came out 
again, full pelt, swinging the keys in his hand, 
rather vain of showing to the choristers that he 



92 MILDRED ARKELL. 

had succeeded in obtaining them_, just as two little 
old gentlemen were advancing from the front 
entrance. 

^^ Hi, Lewis ! stop a moment/' called out Aul- 
tane, in a loud whisper^ as he crossed over and went 
behind Arkell. 

" Eeturn to your place, Aultane," said Arkell. 

Mr. Aultane chose to be deaf. 

" Aultane, to your place/' repeated Henry Arkell, 
his tone one of hasty authority. " Do you see who 
are approaching ?'' 

Aultane looked round in a fluster. But not a 
soul could he see, save a straggler or two making 
their way to the side aisles ; and two insignificant 
little old men, arm-in-arm, close at hand, in rusty 
black clothes and brown wigs. Nobody to affect him, 

" I shall return when I please,'' said he, com- 
mencing a whispered parley with Lewis. 

" Return this instant, Aultane. I order you." 

*' You be " 

The word was not a blessing, but you are at 
liberty to substitute one. The little old men, to 
whom each chorister had bowed profoundly as they 
passed him, turned, and bent their severe yellow 
faces upon Aultane. Lewis junior crept away 
petrified ; and Aultane, with the red flush of shame 
on his brow, slunk back to his place. They were 
the learned judges. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 93 

They positively were. But no wonder Aultane 
had failed to recognise them^ for they bore no 
more resemblance to the fierce and fiery visions of 
the morning", than do two old-fashioned black 
crows to stately peacocks. 

" What may your name be, sir ?^^ inquired the 
yellower of the two. Aultane hung his head in an 
agony : he was wondering whether they could order 
him before them on the morrow and transport him. 
Wilberforce was in another agony, lest those four 
keen eyes should wander to his damaged surplice 
and the pins. Somebody else answered : " Aultane, 
my lord.^^ 

The judges passed on. Arkell would not look 
towards Aultane : he was too noble to add, even by 
a glance, to the confusion of a fallen enemy : but 
the other choristers were not so considerate, and 
Aultane burst into a flow of bad lano^uaore. 

"Be silent,^^ authoritatively interrupted Henry 
Arkell. " More of this, and I will report you to 
the dean.^^ 

" I shan^t be silent," cried Aultane, in his 
passionate rage. " There ! not for you." Beside 
himself with anger, he crossed over, and raised his 
hand to strike Arkell. But one of the sextons, 
happening to come out of the choir, arrested 
Aultane, and whirled him back. 

" Do you know where you are, sir ?" 



04 MILDRED ARKELL. 

In another moment the}^ were surrounded. The 
dean^s wife and daughter had come up; and, 
following them, sneaked Lewis junior, who was 
settling himself into his surplice. Mrs. Beauclerc 
passed on, but Georgina stopped. Even as she went 
into college, she would, sometimes stop and chatter 
to the hoys. 

" You were quarrelling, young gentlemen ! 
What is the grievance T' 

" That beggar threatened to report me to the 
dean,^^ cried Aultane, too angry to care what he 
said, or to whom he spoke. 

" Then I know you deserved it ; as you often 
do," rejoined Miss Bleauclerc ; "but I^d keep a 
civil tongue in my head, if I were you, Aultane. 
I only wonder he has not reported you before. You 
should have me for your senior."^ 

" If he does go in and report me, please tell the 
dean to ask him where his gold medal is," foamed 
Aultane. " And to make him answer it." 

" What do you mean ?" she questioned. 

" He knows. If the dean offered him a thousand 
half-crowns for his medal, he could not produce it." 

" What does he mean ?" repeated Miss Beauclerc, 
looking at Henry Arkell. 

He could not answer : he literally could not. 
Could he have dropped down without life at 
Georgina^s feet, it had been welcome, rather than 



MILDRED ARKELL. 95 

tliat she should hear of an actj whicii, to his 
peculiarly refined temperament^ bore an aspect of 
shame so utter. His face flushed a vivid red, and 
then grew white as his surplice. 

" He can^^t tell you/' said Aultane; "that is_, he 
won^t. He has put it into pawn.'^ 

"And his watch too/^ squeaked Lewis, from 
behind, who had heard of the affair from Aultane. 

Henry Arkell raised his eyes for one deprecating 
moment to Miss Beauclerc^s face ; she was struck 
with their look of patient anguish. She cast an 
annihilating frown at Lewis, and, raising her 
finger haughtily motioned Aultane to his place. 
" I believe nothing ill of you^' she whispered to 
Henry, as she passed on to the choir. 

The next to come in was Mr. St. John. " What^s 
the matter?" he hurriedly said to Henry, who had 
not a vestige of colour in his cheeks or lips. 

"Nothing, thank you, Mr. St. John.'' 

Mr. St. John went on, and Lewis skulked 
to his seat, in his wake. Lewis's place was midway 
on the bench on the decani side, seven boys being* 
above him and seven below him. The choristers 
were on raised seats in front of the lay-clerks, five 
on one side the choir, five opposite on the other; 
Arkell, as senior, heading the five on the decani 
side. 

The dean and canons came in, and the service 



96 MILDEED ARKELL. 



began. While the afternoon psalms were being 
sung, Mr. Wilberforce pricked the roll, a parch- 
ment containing the names of the members of the 
cathedral, from the dean downwards, marking those 
who were present. Aultane left his place and took 
the roll to the dean, continuing his way to the 
organ-loft, to inquire what anthem had been put 
up. He brought word back to Arkell, ' The Lord 
is very great and terrible. Beck with.' Aultane 
would as soon have exchanged words with the 
yellow-faced little man sitting in the stall next the 
dean, as with Arkell, just then, but his duty was 
obligatory. He spoke sullenly, and crossed to his 
seat on the opposite side, and Arkell rose and 
reported the anthem to the lay-clerks behind him. 
Mr. Wilberforce was then reading the first lesson. 
Now it happened that there was only one bass at 
service that afternoon, he on the decani side, Mr. 
Smith ; the other had not come ; and the moment 
the words were out of ArkelFs mouth, " The Lord 
is very great. Beckwith,'^ Mr. Smith flew into a 
temper. He had a first-rate voice, was a good 
singer, and being inordinately vain, liked to give 
himself airs. " I have a horrid cold on the chest," 
he remonstrated, " and I cannot do justice to the 
solo; I shan't attempt it. The organist knows 
Fm as hoarse as a raven, and yet he goes and puts 
up that anthem for to-day V^ 



MILDRED ARKELL. 97 

" What is to be done ?" whispered Henry. 
" I shall send and tell him I can't do it. Hard- 
cast, go up to the organ-loft, and tell Or I 

wish you would oblige me by going yourself, Arkell : 
the juniors are always making mistakes. My com- 
pliments to Paul, and the anthem must be done 
without the bass solo, or he must put up another. ■'' 

Henry Arkell, ever ready to oblige, left his 
stall, proceeded to the organ-loft, and delivered the 
message. The organist was wroth : and but for 
those two little old gentlemen, whom he knew 
were present, he would have refused to change the 
anthem, which had been put up by the dean. 

"Where's Cliff, this afternoon?'' asked he, 
sharply, alluding to the other bass. 

" I don't know," replied Henry. " He is not at 
service." 

The organist took up one of the anthem books 
with a jerk, and turned over its leaves. He came 
to the anthem, '^ I know that my Redeemer liveth," 
from the Messiah, 

" Are you prepared to do justice to this ?" he 
demanded. 

"Yes, I believe lam," repliedHeury. "But " 

" But me no buts," interrupted the organist, 
who was always very short with the choristers. 
" ' I know that my Redeemer liveth. Pitt.' " 

As Henry Arkell descended the stairs, Mr. AVil- 

VOL. III. 7 



98 MILDRED ARKELL. 

berforce was concluding the first lesson. So instead 
of giving notice of the change of anthem to Mr. 
Wilberforce and the singers on the cantori side^ he 
left that until later, and made haste to his own stall, 
to he in time for the soli parts in the Cantate 
Domino, which was being sung that afternoon in 
place of the Magnificat. In passing the bench of 
king's scholars, a foot was suddenly extended out 
before him, and he fell heavily over it, striking his 
head on the stone step that led to the stalls of the 
minor canons. A sexton, a verger, and one or two 
of the senior boys, surrounded, lifted, and carried 
him out. 

The service proceeded ; but his voice was missed 
in the Cantate ; Aultane^s proved but a poor sub- 
stitute. 

'' I wonder whether the anthem's changed ?" 
debated the bass to the centre tenor. 

" Um — no,^' decided the latter. '' Arkell was 
coming straight to his place. Had there been any 
change, he would have gone and told Wilberforce 
and the opposites. Paul is in a pet, and won't 
alter it." 

'^Then he'll play the solo without my accom- 
paniment," retorted the bass, loftily. 

Henry Arkell was only stunned by the fall, and 
before the conclusion of the second lesson, he ap- 
peared in the choir, to the surprise of many. After 



MILDRED ARKELL. 99 

giving the requisite notice of the cliange in the 
anthem to Mr, Wilberforce and Aultane^ he entered 
his stall ; but his face was white as the whitest 
marble. He sang, as usual, in the Deus Mise- 
reatur. And when the time for the anthem came, 
Mr. Wilberforce rose from his knees to g-ive it out. 
" The anthem is taken from the burial service." 
The symphony was played, and then Henry 
ArkelPs voice rose soft and clear, filliuo- the old 
cathedral wdth its harmony, and the words falling 
as distinctly on the ear as if they had been spoken. 
" I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he 
shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And 
though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet 
in my flesh I shall see God : whom I shall see for 
myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not 
another.'''' The organist could not have told ivlif/ he 
put up that particular anthem, but it was a re- 
markable coincidence, noticed afterwards, that it 
should have been a funeral one. 

But though Henry Arkell's voice never faltered 
or trembled, his changing face spoke of bodih^ 
disease or mental emotion : one moment it was 
bright as a damask rose, the next of a transparent 
whiteness. Every eye was on him, wonde)ing at 
the beauty of his voice, at the marvellous beauty of 
his countenance : some sympathised with his emo- 
tion j some were wrapt in the solemn thoughts 

7 — 2 



100 MILDRED ARKELL. 

created by the words. When the solo was con- 
cluded, Henry, with an involuntary glance at the 
pew of Mrs. Beauclerc, fell against the back of his 
stall for support : he looked exhausted. Only for 
a moment, however, for the chorus commenced. 

He joined in it ; his voice rose above all the 
rest in its sweetness and power; but as the ending 
approached, and the voices ceased, and the last 
sound of the organ died upon the ear, his face bent 
forward, and rested without motion on the cho- 
risters' desk. 

" Arkell, what are you up to ?'' whispered one of 
the lay-clerks from behind, as Mr. Wilberforce 
recommenced his chanting. 

No response. 

" Nudge him, Wilberforce ; he's going to sleep. 
There's the dean casting his eyes this way." 

Edwin Wilberforce did as he was desired, but 
Arkell never stirred. 

So Mr. Tenor leaned over and grasped him b}^ 
the arm, and pulled him up with a sudden jerk. 
But he did not hold him, and the poor head fell 
forward again upon the desk. Henry Arkell had 
fainted. 

Some confusion ensued : for the four choristers 
below him had every one to come out of the stall 
before he could be got out. Mr. Wilberforce 
momentarily stopped chanting, and directed his 



MILDRED ARKELL. 101 

angry spectacles towards the choristers^ not un- 
derstanding what caused the hubbub, and inwardly 
vowing to flog the whole five on the morrow. Mr. 
Smith, a strong man, came out of his stall, lifted 
the lifeless form in his arms, and carried it out to 
the side aisle, the head, like a dead weight, hanoino" 
down over his shoulder. All the eyes and all the 
glasses in the cathedral were bent on them; and 
the next to come out of his stall, by the pre- 
bendaries, and follow in the wake, was Mr. St. 
John, a flush of emotion on his pale face. 

The dean^s family, after service, met Mr. St. 
John in the cloisters. " Is he better 1:" asked Mrs. 
Beauclerc. " AVhat was the matter with him the 
second time ?" 

" He I'ainted ; but we soon brought him to in 
the vestry. Young Wilberforce ran and got 
some water. They are walking home with him 
now. 

"AVhat caused him to fall in the choir ?^' con- 
tinued Mrs. Beauclerc. " Giddiness V 

" It was not like giddiness," remarked Mr. St. 
John. " It was as if he fell over somethin'^'-.-''' 

" So I thought," interrupted Georgina. " Why 
did you leave your seat to follow him ?" she con- 
tinued, in a low tone to Mv. St. John, falling 
behind her mother. 

" It was a sudden impulse, I suppose. I was 



102 MILDRED ARKELL. 

nupleasantly struck with his appearance as I went 
into college. He was looking ghastly/' 

" The choristers had been quarrelling : Aultane's 
fault, I am sure. He lifted his hand to strike 
Arkell. Aultane reproached him with having " — 
Georsrina Beauclerc hesitated, with an amused 
look — " disposed of his prize medal." 

"Disposed of his prize medal?" echoed Mr. St. 
John. 

" Pawned it." 

St. John uttered an exclamation. He remem- 
bered the tricks of the college boys, but he could 
not have believed this of his favourite, Henry Arkell. 
"And his watch also, Lewis junior added," con- 
tinued Georgina. " They gave me the information 
in a spiteful glow of triumph. Henry did not deny 
it : he looked as if he could not. But I know he 
is the soul of honour, and if he has done anything 
of the sort, those beautiful companions of his have 
over-persuaded him : possibly to lend the money 
to them." 

"Til see into this," mentally spoke Mr. St. 
John. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 103 



CHAPTER VI. 



PEACHING TO THE DEAN. 



Mr. St. John went at once to Peter Arkell's. 
Henry was alone_, lying on his bed. 

'^ After sucli a fall as that_, how could you be so 
imprudent as to come back and take the anthem ?" 
was his unceremonious salutation. 

" I felt equal to it/^ replied Henry. '•' The one, 
originally put up, could not be done." 

^^ Then they should have put up a third, for me. 
The cathedral does not lack anthems, I hope. 
Show me where your head was struck." 

Henry put his hand to his ear, then higher up, 
then to his temple. " It was somewhere here — all 
about here — I cannot tell the exact spot." 

As he spoke, a tribe of college boys was heard to 
clatter in at the gate. Henry would have risen, 
but Mr. St. John laid his arm across him. 

''' You are not going to those boys. I will send 
them off. Lie still and go to sleep, and dream of 
pleasant things." 



104? MILDRED ARKELL. 

" Pleasant things \" echoed Henry Arkell, in a 
tone full of pain. Mr. St. John leaned over 
him. 

" Henry, I have never had a brother of my own ; 
hut I have almost loved you as such. Treat me as 
one now. What tale is it those demons of mis- 
chief have got hold of, about your watch and 
medal ?" 

With a sharp cry, Henry Arkell turned his face 
to the pillow, hiding its distress. 

" I suppose old Rutterley has got them. But 
that's nothing ; it's the fashion in the school : and 
I expect you had some urgent motive." 

" Oh, Mr. St. John, I shall never overget this 
day's shame : they told Georgina Beauclerc ! I 
would rather die this moment, here, as I lie, than 
see her face again.'^ 

His tone was one of suppressed anguish, and 
Mr. St. John's heart ached for him : though 
he chose to appear to make light of the 
matter. 

" Told Georgina Beauclerc : what if they did ? 
She is the very one to glory in such exploits. Had 
she been the dean's son, instead of his daughter, 
she would have been in Butterley's sanctum three 
times a week. I don't think she would stand at 
going, as it is, if she were hard up." 

'^ But why did they tell her ! I could not have 



MILDRED ARKELL. 105 

acted so cruelly by them. If I could but go to 
some far-off desert^ and never face her, or the 
school, again !" 

" If you could but work yourself into a brain 
fever, you had better say ! that^s what you seem 
likely to do. As to falling in Georgina Beauclerc^s 
opinion, which you seem to estimate so highly (it's 
more than I do), if you pledged all you possess in 
a lump, and yourself into the bargain, she would 
only think the better of you. Now I tell you so, 
for I know it.'' 

" I could not help it ; I could not, indeed. 
Money is so badly wanted " 

He stopped in confusion, having said more than 
he meant : and St. John took up the discourse in 
a careless tone. 

"Money is wanted badly everywhere. I have 
done worse than you, Harry, for I am pawning my 
estate, piecemeal. Mind ! that's a true confession, 
and has never been given to another soul : it must 
lie between us.'"* 

'^ It was yesterday afternoon when college was 
over," groaned Henry. '^ I only thought of giving 
Ptutterley my watch : I thought he would be sure 
to let me have ten pounds upon it. But he would 
not ; only six : and I had the medal in my pocket ; 
I had been showing it to you. I never did such a 
thing in all my lifie before." 



106 MILDRED ARKELL. 

^' That is more than your companions could say. 
How did it get to their knowledge?" 

"I cannot think/' 

" Where's the the exchange Y' 

"The what?" asked Henry. 

" How dull you are !" cried Mr. St. John. " I 
am trying to be genteel, and you won't let me. 
The ticket. Let me see it." 

"They are in my jacket-pocket. Two." He 
languidly reached forth the pieces^ and Mr. St. 
John slipped them into his own. 

" Why do you do that, Mr. St. John ?" 

" To study them at leisure. What's the matter ?" 

" My head is beginning to ache." 

"No wonder, witb all this talking. I'm off. 
Good-bye. Get to sleep as fast as you can." 

The boys were in the garden and round the gate 
still, when he went down. 

" Oh, if you please, sir, is he half killed ? Edwin 
Wilberforce says so." 

"No, he is not half killed," responded Mr. St. 
John. " But he wants quiet, and you must dis- 
pei*se, that he may have it." 

" My brother, the senior boy, says he must have 
fallen down from vexation, because his tricks came 
out," cried Prattleton junior. 

Mr. St. John ran his eyes over the assemblage. 
" What tricks ?" 



MILDRED ARKELL. 107 

" He has been pawning the gold medal, Mr. 
St. John/-' cried Cookesley, the second senior of 
the school. '^ Aultane junior has told the dean : 
Bright Vaughan heard him." 

'' Oh, he has told the dean, has he ?" 

" The dean was going into the deanery, sir, and 
Miss Beauclerc was standing at the door, waiting 
for him,^^ explained Vaughan to Mr. St. John. 
" Something she said to Aultane put him in a 
passion, and he took and told the dean. It was 
his temper made him do it, sir.^^ 

" Such a disgrace, you know, Mr. St. John, 
to take the dean's medal there,' rejoined Cookesley. 
"Anything else wouldn^t have signified.^^ 

" Oh, been rather meritorious, no doubt,^^ re- 
turned Mr. St. John. " Boys '/' 

"Yes, Mr. St. John." 

" You know I was one of yourselves once, and I 
can make allowance for you in all ways. But 
when I was in the school, our motto was. Fair 
play, and no sneaking." 

'' It^s our motto still," cried the flattered boys. 

" It does not appear to be. We would rather, 
any one of us, have pitched ourselves off that 
tower," pointing to it with his hand, "than 
have gone sneaking to the dean with a private 
complaint." 

"And so we would still, in cool blood, cried 



108 MILDRED ARKELL. 

Cookesley. '^ Aultane must have been out of his 
mind with passion when he did it.^' 

" How does Aultane know that Arkell's medal 
is in paw^n ?" 

^' He does not say how. He says he'll pledge 
his word to it/' 

" Then listen to me^ hoys : my word willj I 
believe, go as far with you as Aultane's. Yesterday 
afternoon I met Henry Arkell at the gate liere ; I 
asked to see his medal, and he brought it out of 
the house to show me. He is in bed now, but 
perhaps if you ask him to-morrow, he will be able 
to show it to you. At any rate, do not condemn 
him until you are sure there's a just reason. If he 
did pledge his medal, how many things have you 
pledged ? Some of you would pledge your heads 
if you could. Fair play's a jewel, boys — fair play 
I'or ever l" 

Off came the trenchers, and a shout was being 
raised for fair play and Mr. St. John ; but the latter 
put up his hand. 

"I thought it was Sunda}^ Is that the way you 
keep Sunday in Westerbury ? Disperse quietly." 

" I'll clear him," thought Mr. St. John, as he 
walked home. " Aultane's a mean-spirited coward. 
To tell the dean !" 

Indeed, the incautious revelation of Mr. Aultane 
was exciting some disagreeable consternation in 



MILDKED AEKELL. 109 

the minds of the seniors ; and that gentleman 
himself already wished his passionate tongue had 
been bitten out before he made it. 

The following morning the college boys were 
astir betimes^ and flocked up in a body to the 
judges' lodgings, according to usage_, to beg what 
was called the judges^ holiday. The custom was 
for the senior judge to send his card out and his 
compliments to the head master, requesting him to 
grant it ; and the boys'* custom was, as they tore 
back again, bearing the card in triumph, to raise 
the whole street with their shouts of ^' Holiday ! 
holiday !" 

But there was no such luck on this morninir. 
The judges, instead of the card and the request, 
sent out a severe message — that from what they 
had heard the previous day in the cathedral, the 
school appeared to merit punishment rather than 
holiday. So the boys went back, dreadfully chop- 
fallen, kicking as much mud as they could over 
their trousers and boots, for it had rained in the 
night, and ready to buffet Aultane junior as the 
source of the calamity. 

Aultane himself was in an awful state of mind. 
He felt perfectly certain that the affair in the 
cathedral must now come out to the head master, 
who would naturally inquire into the cause of the 
holiday^s being denied ; and he wondered how it 



110 MILDRED ARKELL. 

was that judges dared to come abroad without their 
gowns and wigs, deceiving unsuspicious people to 
perdition. 

Before nine, ^Ir. St. John was at Henry ArkelPs 
bedside. " Well," said he, ^•' how's the head ?" 

^^It feels light — or heavy. I hardly know 
which. It does not feel as usual. I shall get 
up presently.*^ 

^^All right. Put on this when you do," said 
Mr. St. John, handing him the watch. "And put 
up this in your treasure place, wherever that may 
be," he added, laying the gold medal beside it. 

" Oh, Mr. St. John ! You have " 

" I shall have some sport to-day. I have wormed 
it all out of Rutterley ; and he tells me who was 
down there and on what errand. Ah, ah, Mr. 
Aultane I so you peached to the dean. Wait until 
your turn comes." 

" I wonder Rutterley told you anything," said 
Henry, very much surprised. 

'' He knew me, and the name of St. John bears 
weight in Westerbury," smiled he who owned it. 
" Harry, mind I you must not attempt to go into 
school to-day." 

" It is the judges^ holiday." 

" The judges have refused it, and the boys have 
sneaked back like so many dogs with their tails 
scorched.'^ 



MILDRED AKKELL. Ill 

" Refused it ! Refused the holiday !" interrupted 
Henry. Such a thing had never been heard of in 
his memory. 

" They have refused it. Something must be 
wrong with the boys^ Imt I am not at the bottom 
of the mischief yet. Don^t you attempt to go near 
school or college, Harry : it might play tricks with 
your head. And now Vm going home to break- 
fast.^' 

Henry caught his arm as he was departing. 
" How can I ever thank you, Mr. St. John ? I do 
not know when I shall be able to repay you the 
money ; not until •" 

"You never will," interrupted Mr. St. John. 
" I should not take it if you were rolling in gold. 
I have done this for my own pleasure, and I will 
not be cheated out of it. I wonder how many of 
the boys have got their watches in now. Good- 
bye, old fellow." 

When Mr. Wilberforce came to know of the 
refused holiday, his consternation nearly equalled 
Aultane's. What could the school have been doino' 
that had come to the ears of the judges? He 
questioned sharply the senior boy, and it was as 
much as Prattleton's king's scholarship was worth 
to attempt to disguise by so much as a word, or to 
soften down, the message sent out from the judges. 
But the closer the master questioned the rest of the 



112 MILDRED ARKELL. 

boys_, the less iuformation lie could get ; and all he 
finally obtained was, that some quarrel had taken 
place between the two head choristers, Arkell and 
Aultane, on the Sunday afternoon, and that the 
judges overheard it. 

Early school was excused that morning, as a 
matter of necessity ; for the master — relying upon 
the holiday — did not emerge from his bed-chamber 
until between eight and nine ; and you may be very 
sure that the boys did not proceed to the college 
hall of their own accord. But after breakfast they 
assembled as usual at half-past nine, and the master, 
uneasy and angry, went in also to the minute. 
Henry Arkell failed to make his appearance, and it 
was remarked upon by the masters. 

'' By the way,'' said Mr. Wilberforce, '^ how came 
he to fall down in college yesterday ? Does any- 
body know ?'' 

" Please, sir, he trod upon a surphce,'' said 
Yaughan the bright. '^ Lewis junior says so." 

^' Trod upon a surplice V' repeated Mr. Wilber- 
force. " How could he do that? You were stand- 
ing. Your surplices are not long enough to be 
trodden upon. What do you mean by saying that, 
Lewis junior?" 

Lewis junior's face turned red, and he mentally 
vowed a licking to Bright Yaughan, for being so 
free with his tongue ; but he looked up at the 



MILDRED ARKELL. 113 

master vvith an expression as innocent as a 
lamVs. 

" I only said he might have trodden on a surplice, 
sir. Perhaps he was giddy yesterday afternoon^ as 
he fainted afterwards/' 

The subject dropped. The choristers went into 
college for service at ten o'clock, but the master 
remained in his place. It was not his week for 
chanting. Before eleven they were back again ; 
and the master had called up the head class, and 
was again remarking on the absence of Henry 
Arkell, when the dean and Mr. St. John walked 
into the hall. Mr. Wilberforce rose, and pushed his 
spectacles to the top of his brow in his astonish- 
ment. 

" Have the goodness to call up Aultane/' said 
the dean, after a few words of courtesy, as he stood 
by the master's desk. 

" Senior, or junior, !Mr. Dean ?"" 

'' The chorister." 

" Aultane, junior, walk up," cried the master. 
And Aultane, junior, walked up, wishing himself 
and his tongue and the dean, and all the rest of the 
world within sight and hearing, were safely boxed 
up in the coffins in the cathedral crypt. 

" Now, Aultane," began the dean, regarding him 
with as much severity as it was in the dean's nature 
to regard anyone, even a rebellious college boy, 

VOL. III. 8 



114 MILDRED AEKELL. 

'•' you preferred a charge to me yesterday against 
the senior chorister; that he had been pledging his 
gold medal at Rutterley's. Have the goodness to 
substantiate it." 

" Oh, my heart alive, I wish he'd drop through 
the floor V groaned Aultane to himself. " What 
will become of me ? What a jackass I was I" 

" I did not enter into the matter then," pro- 
ceeded the dean, for Aultane remained silent. 
" You had no business to make the complaint to 
me on a Sunday. What grounds have you for 
your charge?" 

Aultane turned red and white, and green and 
yellow. The dean eyed him closely. "W^hat 
proof have you ?" 

" I have no proof," faltered Aultane. 
"No proof! Did you make the charge to me, 
knowing it was false ?" 

" No, sir. He 7ms pledged his medal.^' 
" Tell me how you know it. Mr. St. John 
knows he had it in his own house on Satur- 
day." 

Aultane shuffled first on one foot, and then on 
the other ; and the dean, failing explanation from 
him, appealed to the school, but all disclaimed cog- 
nizance of the matter. *^ If you behave in this 
extraordinary way, you will compel me to con- 
clude that you have made the charge to preju- 



MILDRED ARKELL. 115 

dice ine against Arkell ; who, I hear, had a serious 
charge to prefer against you for ill-behaviour in 
college," continued the dean to Aultane. 

"If you will send to the place, you will 
find his medal is there, sir,^' sullenly replied 
Aultane. 

" The shortest plan would be to send to ArkelFs, 
and request him to dispatch his medal here, if the 
dean approves," interposed jNIr. St. John, speaking 
for the first time. 

The dean did approve, and Cooksley was des- 
patched on the errand. He brought back the 
medal. Henry was not in the way, but Mrs. 
Arkell had found it and given it to him. 

"Now what do you mean by your conduct?" 
sternly asked the dean of Aultane. 

" I know he pledged it on Saturday, if he has 
got it out to-day," persisted the discomfited 
Aultane, who was in a terrible state, between 
wishing to prove his charge true, and the fear of 
compromising himself. 

" I know Henry Arkell could not be guilty of a 
despicable action," spoke up Mr. St. John; "and, 
hearing of this charge, I went to Eutterley's 
to ask him a few questions. He informed me 
there was a college boy at his place on Saturday,, 
endeavouring to pledge a table-spoon, but he 
knew the crest, and would not take it in — not 

8—2 



116 MILDRED AEKELL. 

wishing, he said, to encourage boys to rob their 
parents. Perhaps Aultane can tell the dean who 
that was ?^^ 

There was a dead silence in the school, and the 
look of amazement on the head-master^s face was 
only matched by the confusion of Aultane's. The 
dean, a kind-hearted man, would not examine 
further. 

" I do not press the matter until I hear the com- 
plaint of the senior chorister against Aultane," said 
he aloud, to Mr. Wilberforce. " It was something 
that occurred in the cathedral yesterday, in the 
hearing, unfortunately, of the judges. But a few 
preliminary tasks, by way of present punishment, 
will do Aultane no harm." 

" I'll give them to him, Mr. Dean," heartily re- 
sponded the master, whose ears had been so scan- 
dalised by the mysterious allusions to Rutterley's, 
that he would have liked to treat the whole 
school to " tasks" and to something else, all round. 
'' ni give them to him." 

" You see what a Tom-fool you have made of 
yourself!" grumbled Prattleton senior to Aultane, 
as the latter returned to his desk, laden with work. 
'' That's all the good you have got by splitting to 
the dean." 

^'^I wish the dean was in the sea, I do !" madly 
cried Aultane, as he savagely watched the retreat 



MILDRED ARKELL. 117 

of that very reverend divine^ who went out carry- 
ing the gold medal between his fingers, and fol- 
lowed by Mr. St. John. "And I wish that brute, 
St. John was hung I He " 

Aultane^s words and bravery alike faded into 
silence, for the two were coming back again. The 
master stood up. 

" I forgot to tell you, Mr. Wilberforce, that I 
have recommended Henry Arkell to take a holiday 
for a day or two. That was a violent fall yester- 
day; and his fainting afterwards struck me as not 
wearing a favourable appearance.^^ 

" Have you seen him, Mr. Dean ?" 

"I saw him an hour ago, just before service. I 
was going by the house as he came out of it, on 
his way to college, I suppose. It is a strange 
thing what it could have been that caused the 
fall.^^ 

" So it is,^^ replied the master. " I was in- 
quiring about it just now, but the school does not 
seem to know anything.^' 

" Neither does he, so far as I can learn. At 
any rate, rest will be best for him for a day or 
two.^' 

" No doubt it will, Mr. Dean. Thank you for 
thinking of it.^"* 

They finally went out, St. John casting a signi- 
ficant look behind him, at the boys in general, at 



118 MILDRED ARKELL. 

Aultane junior in particular. It said as plainly as 
looks could say, '^Vd not peach again, ^ojs, if I 
were you ;" and Aultane junior, but for the re- 
straining presence of the head master, would 
assuredly have sent a yell after him. 

How much St. John told of the real truth to the 
dean, that the medal kad been pledged, we must 
leave between them. The school never knew. 
Henry himself never knew. St. John quitted the 
dean at the deanery, and went on to restore the 
medal to its owner : although Georgina Beauclerc 
was standing at one of the deanery windows, 
looking down expectantly, as if she fancied he was 
o-oins: in. 

Travice was at that moment at Peter Arkell's, 
perched upon a side-table, as he talked to them. 
Henry leaned rather languidly back in an elbow- 
chair, his fingers pressed upon his head ; Lucy was 
at work near the window ; Mrs. Peter, looking 
very ill, sat at the table. Travice had not been at 
service on the previous afternoon, and the accident 
had been news to him this morning. 

" But how did j^ou fall ?" he was asking with un- 
compromising plainness, being unable to get any 
clear information on the point. " What threw 
you down ?'' 

" Well — I fell,^^ answered Henry. 

" Of course you fell. But how? The passage 



MILDRED ARKELL. 119 

is all clear between the seats of the king's scholars 
and the cross benches; there's nothing for you 
to strike your foot against ; how did you fall V 

" There was some confusion at the time, Travice ; 
the first lesson was just over, and the people were 
rising for the cantate. I was walking very fast, 
too/' 

" But something must have thrown you down : 
unless you turned giddy^ and fell of your own 
accord/' 

" I felt giddy afterwards/' returned Henry, who 
had been speaking with his hand mostly before his 
eyes, and seemed to answer the questions with some 
reluctance. " I feel giddy now." 

" I think, Travice, he scarcely remembers how 
it happened," spoke Mrs. Arkell. "Don't press 
him ; he seems tired. I am so glad the dean gave 
him boUday/' 

At this juncture, Mr. St. John came in with the 
medal. He stayed a few minutes, telling Harry 
he should take him for a drive in the course of the 
day, which Mrs. Arkell negatived; she thought it 
might not be weU for the giddiness he complained of 
in|the head. St. John took his leave, and Henry 
went with him outside, to hear the news in private 
of what had taken place in the college hall. Mrs. 
Arkell had left the room then, and Travice took 
the opportunity to approach Lucy. 



120 MILDRED AEKELL. 

'^ Does it strike you that there's any mystery 
about this fall, Lucy?'' 

" Mystery !" she repeated, raising her eyes. ^' In 
what way?" 

" It is one of two things : either that he does 
not remember how he fell, or that he won't tell. I 
think it is the latter ; there is a restraint in his 
manner when speaking of it : an evident reluctance 
to speak.^' 

" But why should he not speak of it ?" 

" There lies what I call the mystery. A sensa- 
tional word, you will say, for so slight a matter. 
I may be wrong — if you have not noticed any- 
thiug. What's that you are so busy over ?" 

Lucy held it up to the light, blushing excessively 
at the same time. It was Harry^s rowing jersey, 
and it was getting the worse for wear. Boat- 
ing would soon be coming in. 

" It wants darning nearly all over, it is so 
thin," she said. "And the difficulty is to darn 
it so that the darn shall be neither seen nor sus- 
pected on the right side." 

" Can't you patch it ?" asked Ti'avice. 

She laughed out loud. " Would Harry go row- 
ing in a patched jersey? Wbuld you, Travice?" 

He laughed too. " I don't think I should much 
mind it." 

"■ Ah, but you are Travice Arkell/' she said, her 



MILDRED ARKELL. 121 

seriousness returning. " A rich man may go about 
without shoes if he likes ; but a poor one must not 
be seen even in mended ones." 

" True : it's the way of the world, Lucy. Well, 
I should mend that jersey with a new one. Why, 
you'll be a whole day over it." 

" I dare say I shall be two. Travice, there's 
Mr. St. John looking round for yon. He was 
beckoning. Did you not see him. 

'^No, I only saw you," answered Travice, in a 
tone that was rather a significant one. " I see 
now ; he wants me. Good-by, Lucy." 

He took her hand in his. There was little 
necessity for it, seeing that he came in two or 
three times a day. And he kept it longer than he 
need have done. 



122 MILDRED ARKELL. 



CHAPTER VII. 



CAEE, VERSUS CAKR. 



It was two o'clock in the afternoon, and a crowd 
of busy idlers was gathered round the Guildhall at 
Westerbury, for the great cause was being brought 
on — Carr versus Carr. 

That they could not get inside, you may be very 
sure, or they would not have been round it. In 
point of fact, the trial had not been expected to 
come on before the Tuesday; but in the course of 
Monday morniug two causes had been withdrawn, 
and the Carr case was called on. The Nisi Prius 
Court immediately became filled to inconvenience, 
and at two o'clock the trial began. 

It progressed equably for some time, and then 
there arose a fierce discussion touching the register. 
Mr. Fauntleroy's counsel, Serjeant Wrangle, de- 
claring the marriage was there up to very recently ; 
and Mynn and M^mn's counsel, Serjeant Siftem, 
ridiculing the assertion. The judge called for the 
resjister. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 123 

It was produced and examined. The marriage 
was not there, neither was there any sign of its 
having been abstracted. Lawrence Omer was called 
by Serjeant Wrangle ; and he testified to having 
searched the register, seen the inscribed marriage, 
and copied the names of the witnesses to it. In 
proof of this, he tendered his pocket-book, where 
the names were written in pencil. 

Up rose Serjeant Siftem. " What day was this, 
pray T^ 

" It was the ^t\\ of November." 

"And so you think you saw, amidst the many 
marriasres entered in the reo^ister, that of Robert 
Carr and Martha Ann Hughes V 

" I am sure I saw it,^^ replied Mr. Omer. 

" Were 3'ou alone ?" 

" I looked over the book alone. Hunt, the clerk 
of the church, was present in the vestry." 

"It must appear to the jury as a singular thing 
that you only, and nobody else, should have seen 
this mysterious entry," continued Serjeant Siftem. 

" Perhaps nobody else looked for it ; they^'d have 
seen it if they had," shortly returned the witness, 
who felt himself an aggrieved man, and spoke like 
one, since Mynn and Mynn had publicly accused 
liim that day of having gone down to St. James's 
in his sleep, and seen the entry in a dream alone. 

" Does it not strike you, witness, as being extra- 



124 MILDEED ARKELL. 

ordinary that this one particular entry,, professed 
to have been seen by your eyes, and by yours alone, 
should have been abstracted from a book safely 
kept under lock and key?" pursued Serjeant Siftera. 
" I am mistaken if it would not strike an intelli- 
gent man as being akin to an impossibility.'''' 

"No, it does not strike me so. But events, 
hard of belief, happen sometimes. I swear the 
marriage was in the book last November : why it 
is not there now, is the extraordinary part of the 
affair.^' 

It ^vas no use to cross-examine the witness 
further ; he was cross and obstinate, and persisted 
in his story. Serjeant Siftem dismissed him; and 
Hunt was called, the clerk of the church, who came 
hobbling in. 

The old man rambled in his evidence, but the 
point of it was, that he didn^t believe any abstrac- 
tion had been made, not he ; it must be a farce to 
suppose it ; a crotchet of that great lawyer, Faunt- 
leroy ; how could the register be touched when he 
himself kept it sure and sacred, the key of the 
safe in a hiding-place in the vestry, and the key of 
the church hanging up in his own house, outside 
his kitchen door? His rector said it had been 
robbed, and in course he couldn^t stand out to his 
face as it hadn^t, but he were upon his oath now, 
and must speak the truth without shrinking. 



MILDRED ARK ELL. 125 

Serjeant Wrangle rose. "Did the witness mean 
to tell the court that he never saw or read the entry 
of the marriage V 

" No, he never did. He never heard say as it 
were there, and he never looked.'^ 

'^ But you were present when the witness Omer 
examined the register?^' persisted Serjeant Wrangle. 

'^Master Omer wouldn't have got to examine it, 
unless I had been/' retorted Hunt to Serjeant 
Wrangle. " I was a-sitting down in the vestry, a- 
nursing of my leg, which were worse than usual 
that day ; it always is in damj) weather, and " 

"Confine yourself to evidence,^' interrupted the 
judge. 

"Well, sir, I was a-nursing of my leg whilst 
Master Omer looked into the book. I don't know 
what he saw there ; he didn't say ; and v/hen he had 
done looking I locked it safe up again." 

"Did you see him make an extract from it?" 
demanded Serjeant Wrangle. 

"Yes, I saw him a- writing something down in his 
pocket-book." 

" Have you ever entrusted the key of the safe 
to strange hands ?" 

" I wouldn't do such a thing," angrily replied 
the witness. " I never gave it to nobody, and 
never would; there's not a soul knows where it is 
to be found, but me, and the rector, and the other 



126 MILDEED ARKELL. 

clergyman, Mr. Prattleton, what comes often to do 
the duty. I couldn't say as much for the key of 
the church, which sometimes goes beyond my 
custody, for the rector allows one or two of the 
young college gents to go in to play the organ. By 
token, one on ^em — ^the quietest o^ the pair, it were, 
too — flung in that very key on to our kitchen floor, 
and shivered our cat's beautiful chaney saucer into 

seven atoms, and my missis " 

" That is not evidence,'' again interrupted the 
judge. 

Nothing more, apparently, that was evidence, 
could be got from the witness, so he was dismissed. 
Call the Reverend Mr. Wilberforce. 
The Reverend Mr. Wilberforce, rector of St. 
James the Less, minor canon and sacrist of Wes- 
terbury Cathedral, and head-master of the col- 
legiate school, came forward, and was sworn. 

"You are the rector of St. James the Less?" 
said Serjeant Wrangle. 

'' I am," replied Mr. Wilberforce. 
" Did you ever see the entry of Robert Carrs 
marriage with Martha Ann Hughes in the church's 
register." 

"Yes, I did." Serjeant Siftem pricked up his 
ears. 

" When did you see it ?" 

" On the 7th of last November." 



MILDRED ARKELL. 127 

"How do you fix the date, Mr. Wilberforee ?'^ 
inquired the judge, recognising him as the minor 
canon who had officiated in the chanter^s desk tlie 
previous day in the cathedral, 

" I had been marrying a couple that morning, 
my lord, the 7 th. After I had entered their mar- 
riage, I turned back and looked for the registry of 
Robert Carres, and I found it and read it." 

"What induced you to look for it?''^ asked the 
counsel. 

" I had heard that his marriage was discovered 
to have taken place at St. James's, and that it was^ 
recorded in the register /' and Mr. Wilberforce then 
told how he had heard it. " Curiosity induced me 
to turn back and read it," he continued. 

"You both saw it and read it?" continued Ser- 
jeant Wrangle. 

" I both saw it and read it," replied Mr. Wil- 
berforce. 

"Then you testify that it was undoubtedly 
there ?" 

" Most certainly it was." 

" The reverend gentleman will have the goodness 
to remember that he is upon his oath," cried Ser- 
jeant Siftem, impudently bobbing up. 

" Sir .'" was the indignant rebuke of the clergy- 
man. " You forget to whom you are speaking," 
he added, amidst the dead silence of the court. 



128 MILDRED ARK ELL. 

" Can you remember the words written ?" re- 
sumed Serjeant Wrangle. 

" The entry was properly made ; in the same 
manner that the others were, of that period. Kobert 
Carr and Martha Ann Hughes had signed it ; also 
her brother and sister as witnesses.^' 

" You have no doubt that the entry was there, 
then, Mr. Wilberforce ?'^ observed the judge. 

'^ My lord," cried the reverend gentleman, some- 
what nettled at the question, "I can believe my 
own eyes. I am not more certain that I am now 
giving evidence before your lordship, than I am 
that the marrias^e was in the resrister." 

" It is not in now ?" said the judge. 

" No, my lord ; it must have been cleverly ab- 
stracted." 

"The whole leaf, I presume?" said Serjeant 
Wrangle. 

" Undoubtedly. The marriage entered below 
Robert Carr's was that of Sir Thomas Ealing : I 
read that also, with its long string of witnesses : 
that is also gone." 

'^ Can you account for its disappearance?" asked 
Serjeant Wrangle. 

" Not in the least. I wish I could : and find 
out the offenders." 

'' The incumbent of the parish at that time is 
no longer living, I believe?" observed Serjeant 
Wrangle. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 129 

" He has been dead many years," replied Mr. 
"VVilberforce. " But it was not the incumbent who 
married them : it was a strange clergyman who 
performed the ceremony, a friend of Robert 
Carr's." 

" How do you know that?" snapped Serjeant 
Siftem, bobbing up again. 

'' Because he signed the register as having per- 
formed it." replied Mr. Wilberforce, coufronting 
the Serjeant with a look as undaunted as his own. 

What cared Serjeant Siftem for being con- 
fronted ? " How do you know he was a friend 
of Robert Carr's ?'' went on he. 

'' In that I speak from hearsay. But there are 
many men of this city, older than I am, who re- 
member that the Reverend Mr. Bell and Robert 
Carr were upon exceedingly intimate terms : they 
can testify it to you, if you choose to call them." 

Serjeant Siftem growled, and sat down; but was 
up again in a moment. ^' Who was clerk of the 
parish at that time?" asked he. 

" There was no clerk," replied the witness. ^^ The 
office was in abeyance. Some of the parishioners 
wanted to abolish it ; but they did not succeed in 
doing so." 

" Allow me to ask you^ sir, resumed Serjeant 
Wrangle, " whether the entrance of the marriage 
there is not a proof of its having taken place ?" 

VOL. Ill, 9 



130 MILDRED ARKELL. 

" Most assuredly/^ replied Mr. Wilberforce. " A 
proof indisputable." 

But courts of justice, judges, and jury require 
ocular and demonstrative proof. It is probable 
there was not a soul in court, including the judge 
and Serjeant Sift em, but believed the evidence of 
the Eeverend Mr. Wilberforce, even had they chosen 
to doubt that of Lawrence Omer ; but the register 
negatively testified that there had been no mar- 
riage, and upon the register, in law, must rest the 
onus of proof. Had there been positive evidence, 
not negative, of the abstraction of the leaf from the 
register, had the register itself afforded such, the 
aspect of affairs would have been very different. 
Mr. Mynn testified that on the 2nd day of Decem- 
ber he had looked and could find no trace of the 
marriage in the register : it was certainly evident 
that it was not in now. When the court rose 
that night, the trial had advanced down to the 
summing-up of the judge, which was deferred till 
morning : but it was felt by everybody that that 
summing-up would be dead against the client of 
Mr. Fauntleroy, and that Squire Carr had gained 
the cause. 

The squire, and his son Valentine, and !Mynn 
and Mynn, and one or two of the lesser guns of the 
bar, but not the great gun, Serjeant Siftem, took 
a late dinner together, and drank toasts, and were 



MILDRED ARKELL. 131 

iis meny and uproarious as success could make 
them : and Westerbury, outside, echoed their sen- 
timents — that 'cute old Fauntleroy had not a leg 
to stand upon. 

'Cute old Fauntleroy — 'cute enough, goodness 
knew, in general — was thinking the same thing, as 
he took a solitary chop in his own house : for he 
did not get home until long past the dinner-hour, 
and his daughters were out. After the meal was 
finished, he sat over the fire in a dreamy mood, 
he scarcely knew how long, he was so full of vex- 
ation. 

The extraordinary revelation, that the disputed 
marriage had taken place at St. James the Less, 
and lain recorded all those years unsuspiciously in 
the register, with the still more extraordinary fact 
that it had been mysteriously taken out of it, 
electrified Westerbury. The news flew from one 
end of the city to the other, and back again, and 
sideways, and everywhere. 

But not until late in the evening was it carried 
to Peter Arkell's. Cookesley, the second senior of 
the school, went in to see Henry, and told it ; and 
then, for the first time, Henry found that the ab- 
straction of the leaf had reference to the great cause 
— Carr versus Carr. 

" Will ^Irs. Carr lose her verdict through it ?" 
he asked of Cookesley. 

9—2 



132 MILDRED ARKELL. 

'^ Of course she will. TheiVs no proof of the 
leaf's having been taken out. If they could only 
prove that, sheM gain it ; and very unjust it will 
be upon her, poor thing ! We had such a game in 
school V' added Cookesley, passing to private in- 
terests. "Wilberforce was at the court all the 
afternoon, giving evidence ; and Roberts wanted 
to domineer over us upper boys ; as if we'd let him ! 
He was so savage." 

Cookesley departed. Henry had his head down 
on the table : Mrs. Arkell supposed it ached, and 
bade him go to bed. He apparently did not 
hear her ; and presently started up and took his 
trencher. 

" Where are you going ?" she asked, in surprise. 

''Only to Prattleton's. I want to speak to 
George.^' 

'' But, Henry " 

Remonstrance was useless. He had already 
or-one. Prattleton senior came to the door to him. 

" George ? George is at Griffin's ; Griffin has 
got a bachelor's party. Whatever do you want 
with him ? I say, Arkell, have you heard of the 
row in school this morning ? The dean came in 
about that medal business — what a fool Aultane 
junior was for splitting ! — and St. John spoke 
about one of the fellows having been at Rutterley's 
on Saturday, trying to pledge a spoon with the 



MILDRED AKKELL. 133 

Aultane crest upon it : lie didn^t say actually the 
crest was the Aultanes^, or that the fellow was 
Aultane^ but his manner let us know it. Wasn't 
Aultane in a way ! He said afterwards that if he 
had had a pistol ready capped and loaded, he should 
have shot himself, or the dean, or St. John, or 
somebody else. Serve him right for his false 
tongue ! There'll be an awful row yet. I know 
rd shoot myself, before I'd go and peach to the 
dean !" 

But Prattleton was wasting his words on air. 
Henry had flown on to Griffin's — the house in the 
grounds formerly occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Lewis. 
The Reverend Mr. Griffin was the old minor canon, 
with the cracked voice, and it was his son and heir 
who was holding the bachelor's party. George 
Prattleton came out. 

There ensued a short, sharp colloquy — Henry 
insisting upon being released from his promise ; 
George Prattleton, whom the suggestion had 
startled nearly out of his senses, refusing to allow 
him to divulge anything. 

'^She'll not get her cause,'^ said Henry, " unless 
I speak. It will be awfully unjust." 

"You'll just keep your tongue quiet, Arkell. 
What is it to you? The Carr folks are not your 
friends or relatives." 

" If I were to let the trial go against her, for 



134 MILDKED AEKELL. 

the want of telling the truth^ I should have it on 
my conscience always." 

^^ My word \" cried George Prattleton^ ^^ a schooU 
boy with a conscience ! I never knew they were 
troubled with any/^ 

"Will you release me from my promise of not 
speaking ?" 

^^Not if you go down on your knees for it. 
What a green fellow you are V^ 

" Then I shall speak without." 

" You won't/' cried Prattleton. 

" I will. I gave the promise only conditionally, 
remember; and, as things are turniDg out, I am 
under no obligation to keep it. But I would not 
speak without asking 3'our consent first, whether I 
got it or not." 

^' I have a great miud to carry you by force, and 
fling you into the river," uttered Prattleton, in a 
savage tone. 

" You know you couldn't do it," returned Henry, 
quietly: "if I am not your equal in age and strength, 
I could call those who are. But there's not a mo- 
ment to be lost. I am off to Mr. Fauntleroy's." 

Henry Arkell meant what he said : he was always 
resolute in o-'ight: and Prattleton, after a further 
confabulation, was fain to give in. Indeed he had 
been expecting nothing less than this for the last 
hour, and had in a measure prepared himself for it. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 135 

'^ I'll tell the news myself/^ said George Prattle- 
ton, " if it must be told : and I'll tell it to Mr. 
Prattleton, not to Fauntleroy, or any of the law set/' 

"I must go to Mr. Prattleton with you/' re- 
turned Henry. 

^' You can wait for me out here^ then. We are at 
whist_, and my coming out has stopped the game. 
I shan't be more than five minutes." 

George Prattleton retreated indoors, and Henry 
paced about, waiting for him. He crossed over 
towards the deanery, and came upon Miss Beauclerc. 
She had been spending an hour at a neighbouring 
house, and was returning home, attended by an old 
man-servant. Muffled in a shawl and wearing a 
pink silk hood, few would have known her, except 
the college boy. His heart beat as if it would 
burst its bounds. 

"Why, it's never you !" she cried. "Thank 
you, Jacob, that will do,'' she added to the 
servant. " Don't stand, or you'll catch your 
rheumatism ; Mr. Arkell will see me indoors." 

The old man turned away with a bow, and she 
partially threw back her pink silk hood to talk 
to Henry, as they moved slowly on to the deanery 
door. 

" Were you going to call upon us, Harry ?" 

" No, Miss Beauclerc. I am waiting for George 
Prattleton. He is at Griffin's." 



136 MILDRED ARKELL. 

"Miss Beanclerc 'Z"* she echoed; ^Hiow formal 
you are to-night. Vd not be as cold as you, Henry 
Arkell, for the whole world !" 

" I, cold r 

He said no more in refutation. If Georgina 
could but have known his real feelings ! If she oonld 
but have divined how his pulses were beating, his 
veins coursing ! Perhaps she did. 

" Are you better ? What a fall you had ! And 
to faint after it !'' 

" Yes, I think I am better, thank you. It hurt 
my head a little." 

'^'^And you had been annoyed with those re- 
bellious school boys ! You are not half strict 
enough with the choristers. I hope Aultane will 
get a flogging, as Lewis did for locking you up in 
St. James's Church. I asked Lewis the next day 
how he liked it : he was so savage. I think he'd 
murder you if he could : he's jealous, you know." 

She laughed as she spoke the last words, and her 
gay blue eyes were bent on him ; he could discern 
them even in the dark, obscure corner where the 
deanery door stood. Henry did not answer : he 
was in wretched spirits. 

" Harry, tell me — why is it you so rarely come 
to the deanery ? Do you think any other college 
boy would dare to set at nought the dean^s invita- 
tions — and mine?" 



MILDRED ARKELL, 187 

'^Remembering what passed between us one 
night at the deanery — the audit night — can you 
wonder that I do not oftener come T' he inquired. 

'' Oh^ but you were so stupid/'' 

^'Yes^ I know. I. have been stupid for years 
past/' 

Miss Beauclerc laughed. " And you think that 
stopping away will cure you ?'' 

" It will not cure me ; years will not cure me/' 
he passionately broke forth, in a tone whose 
anguish w^as irrepressible. " Absence andyoz^ alone 

will do that. When I go to the university " 

He stopped, unable to proceed. 

'' When you go to the university you will come 
back a wise man. Henry/^ she continued, chang- 
ing her manner to seriousness, " it was the height 
of folly to suffer yourself to care for me. If I — if 
it were reciprocated, and I cared for you, if I were 
dying of love for you, there are barriers on all 
sides, and in all ways.'' 

" I am aware of it. There is the barrier between 
us of disparity of years ; there is a wide barrier of 
station; and there is the greatest barrier of all, 
want of love on your side. I know that my loving 
you has been nothing short of madness, from the 
first : madness and double madness since I knew 
where your heart was given." 

" So you will retain that crotchet in your head!" 



138 • MILDRED ARKELL. 

"It is no crotchet. Do you think my loving 
eyes — my jealous eyes^ if* you so will it — ^have been 
deceived ? You must be happy^ now that he has 
come back to Westerbury.'^ 

" Stupid V' echoed Miss Beauclerc. 

^' But it has been your fault_, Georgina/' he 
resumed^ reverting to himself. " I 9/m.st reiterate 
it. You saw what my feelings were becoming for 
yoUj and you did all you could to draw them on ; 
you may have deemed me a child then in years ; 
you knew I was not_, in heart. They might have 
been checked in the onset_, and repressed : why did 
you not do it ? why did you do just the contrary, 
nd give me encouragement ? You called it flirting ; 
you thought it good sport : but you should have 
remembered that what is sport to one, may be death 
to another." 

"This estrangement makes me uncomfortable/^ 
proceeded Miss Beauclerc, ignoring the rest. 
"Papa keeps saying, 'What is come to Henry 
Arkell that he is never at the deanery ?' and then 
I invent white stories, about believing that j^our 
studies take up your time. I miss you everj^ day; 
I do, Henrj^ ; I miss your companionship ; I miss 
your voice at the piano; I miss your words in 
speaking to me. But here comes your friend 
George Prat, for that's the echo of old Griffin's 
door. I know the different sounds of the doors 



MILDRED AEKELL. 139 

in the grounds. Good niglit^ Harry: I must 
go in/* 

She bent towards him to put her hand in his^ and 
he — he was betrayed out of his propriet}^ and his 
good manners. He caught her to his hearty and 
held her there ; he kissed her face with his fervent 
lips. 

" Forgive me, Georgina/'' he murmured, as she 
released herself. "It is the first and the last time/' 

" I will forgive you for this once," cried the care- 
less girl ; " but only think of the scandal, had any- 
body come up : my staid mamma would go into a 
fit. It is what he has never done,** she added, in a 
deeper tone. "And why your head should run 
upon him I cannot tell. Mine doesn^t/* 

Henry wrung her hand. "But for him, 
Georgina, I should think you cared for me. iSot 
that the case would be less hopeless/' 

Miss Beauclerc rang a peal on the door-bell, and 
was immediately admitted — whilst Henry Arkell 
walked forward to join George Prattleton, his heart 
a compound of sweet and bitter, and his brain in a 
mazy dream. 

But we left Mr. Fauntleroy in a dream by the 
side of his fire, and by no means a pleasant one. 
He sat there he did not know how long, and was 
at length interrupted by one of his servants. 

" You are wanted, sir, if you please.*'' 



140 MILDRED ARKELL. 

" Wanted now ! Who is it T' 

" The Rev. Mr. Prattleton, sir^ and one or two 
more. They are in the drawing-room, and the 
fire^s 2:one out.^'' 

" He has come bothering about that tithe case/^ 
grumbled Mr. Fauntleroy to himself. "I won''t 
see him : let him come at a proper time. My 
compliments to Mr. Prattleton, Giles, but 
I am deep in assize business, and cannot see 
him.^^ 

Giles went out and came in again. "Mr. 
Prattleton says they must see you, sir, whether or 
no. He told me to say, sir, that it is about the 
cause that's on, Carr and Carr.^' 

Mr. Fauntleroy proceeded to his drawing-room, 
and there he was shut in for some time. What- 
ever the conference with his visitors may have 
been, it was evident, when he came out, that for 
him it had borne the deepest interest, for his whole 
appearance was changed; his manners were excited, 
his eyes sparkling, and his face was radiant. 

They all left the house together, but the lawyer's 
road did not lie far with theirs. He stopped at the 
lodgings occupied by Serjeant Wrangle, and 
knocked. A servant-maid came to the door. 

"I want to see Serjeant Wrangle,"" said Mr. 
Fauntleroy, stepping in. 

" You can't sir. He is gone to bed." 



MILDRED ARKELL. 141 

^^I must see him for all that/^ returned Mr. 
Fauntleroy. 

*^ Missis and master^s gone to Led too_, she added, 
by way of remonstrance. '' I was just a-going.''^ 

" With all my heart, said Mr. Fauntleroy. " I 
must see the serjeant."^ 

" ^Tain^t me_, then_, sir_, that^ll go and awaken 
him/-' cried the girl. " He^s gone to bed dead 
tired, he said, and I was not to disturb him till 
eight in the morning."'' 

" Give me your candle/^ replied Mr. Fauntleroy, 
taking it from her hand. " He has the same rooms 
as usual, I suppose ; first floor." 

Mr. Fauntleroy went up the stairs, and the girl 
stood at the bottom, and watched and listened. 
She did not approve of the proceedings, but did not 
dare to check them ; for Mr. Fauntleroy was a 
great man in Westerbury, and their assize lodger, 
the Serjeant, was a greater. 

Tap — tap — tap : at Serjeant Wrangle's door. 

No response. 

Tap — tap — tap, louder. 

" W^ho the deuce is that ?" called out the serjeant, 
who was only dignified in his wig and gown. " Is 
it you, Ehza? what do you want? It's not morn- 
ing, is it?^' 

'^'Tain't me, sir,'' screamed out Eliza, who had 
now followed Mr. Fauntleroy. '' I told the gentle- 



142 MILDRED ARKELL. 

man as you was dead tired and wasn't to be woke 
lip till eight in the morning, but he took my light 
and would come up." 

" I mxust see you, serjeant/^ said j\Ir. Fauntleroy. 

" See me ! Fm in bed and asleep. Who the 
•dickens is it ?" 

^' Mr. Fauntleroy. Don't you know my voice ? 
Can I come in ?" 

" No ; the door's bolted.'' 

" Then just come and undo it. For, see you, I 
must." 

"Can't it wait?" 

" If it could I should not have disturbed you. 
Open the door and you shall judge for yourself.'* 

Serjeant Wrangle was heard to tumble out of 
bed in a lump, and undo the bolt of the door. Eliza 
concluded that he was in his night attire, and 
modestly threw her apron over her face. Mr. 
Fauntleroy entered. 

" The most extraordinary thing has turned up in 
Carr versus Carr," cried he. " Never had such a 
piece of luck, just in the nick of time, in all my 
practice." 

" Do shut the door,'' responded Serjeant 
Wrangle; "I shall catch the shivers." 

Mr. Fauntleroy shut the door, shutting out 
Eliza, who forthwith sat down on the top stair, 
and wished she had ten ears. " Have you not 



MILDRED ARKELL. 143 

a dressing-gown to put on T' cried he to the 
Serjeant. 

" ril listen in bed/^ replied the serjeant^ vaulting 
into it. 

A whole hour did that ill-used Eliza sit on the 
stairs, and not a syllable could she distinguish, 
listen as she would, nothing but an eager murmur- 
ing of voices. When Mr. Fauntleroy came out, he 
put the candle in her hand and she attended him to 
tlie door, but not in a gracious mood. 

" I thought you were going to stop all night, 
sir," she ventured to say. " Dreadful dreary it was, 
sitting there, a-waiting.^^ 

^^ Why did you not wait in the kitchen ?" 

" Because every minute I fancied you must be 
coming out. Good night, sir." 

" Good night," returned Mr. Fauntleroy, putting 
half-a-crown in her hand. " There ; that^s in case 
you have to w^ait on the stairs for me again." 

Eliza brightened up, and officiously lighted Mr. 
Fauntleroy some paces down the street, in spite of 
the gas-lamp at the door, which shone well. ^^ What 
a good humour the old lawyer's in !" quoth she. ^^ I 
wonder what his business was? I heard him say 
something had arose in Carr and Carr." 



144 MILDRED ARKELL. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



THE SECOND DAY. 



Tuesday morning dawned, and before nine o^'clock 
the Nisi Prius court was more densely packed than 
Dn the preceding day : all VVesterbury — at least, as 
many as could push in — were anxious to hear his 
lordship^s summing up. At twenty-eight minutes 
after nine, the javelins of the sheriff^s men appeared 
in the outer hall, ushering in the procession of the 
judges. 

The senior judge proceeded to the criminal court ; 
the other, as on the Monday, took his place in the 
Nisi Prius. His lordship had his notes in his hand, 
and was turning to the jury, preparatory to enter- 
ing on his task, when ^Ir. Serjeant Wrangle 
rose. 

" My lord — I must crave your lordship's permis- 
sion to state a fact, bearing on the case, Carr versus 
Carr. An unexpected witness has arisen ; a most 
important witness ; one who will testify to the 
abstraction from the register; one who was present 



MILDRED ARKELL. 145 

when that abstraction was made. Youu lordsliip 
will allow him to be heard ?" 

Serjeant Siftem^ and Mynn and Mynn^ and 
Squire Carr and his son Valentine, and all who 
espoused that side, looked contemptuous dag<^'ers 
of incredulity at Serjeant Wrangle. But the judge 
allowed the witness to be heard, for all that. 

He came forward ; a remarkably handsome boy, 
at the stage between youth and manhood. The 
judge put his silver glasses across his nose and gazed 
at him : he thought he recognised those beautiful 
features. 

" Swear the witness," cried some official. 

The witness was sworn. 

" What is your name ?" demanded Serjeant 
Wrangle. 

" Henry Cheveley Arkell." 

" Where do you reside ?" 

" In Westerbury, near the cathedral.''' 

" You are a member of the college school and a 
chorister, are you not ?" interposed the judge, whose 
remembrance had come to him. 

" A king's scholar, my lord, and senior 
chorister." 

" Were you in St. James's Church on a certain 
night of last November?" resumed Serjeant 
Wrangle. 

" Yes. On the twentieth." 

VOL. III. 10 



146 MILDRED ARKELL. 

" For liow long ? And how came you to be 
there ?^^ 

'* I went in to practise on the organ, when after^ 
noon school was over, and some one locked me in, 
I was there until nearly two in the morning." 

" Who locked you in T' 

" I did not know then. I afterwards heard that 
it was one of the senior boys." 

" Tell the jury what you saw." 

Henry Arkell, amidst the confused scene, so un- 
familiar to him, wondered which was the jury. Not 
knowing, he stood as he had done before, looking 
alternately at the examining counsel and the judge. 

" I went to sleep on the singers^ seat in the 
organ-gallery, and slept until a noise awoke me. I 
saw two people stealing up the church with a light; 
they turned into the vestry, and I went softly down- 
stairs and followed them, and stood at the vestry 
door looking in.^^ 

" Who were those parties ?" 

" The one was Mr. George Prattleton; the other 
a stranger, whose nam.e I had heard was Rolls. 
George Prattleton unlocked the safe and gave Rolls 
the register, and Rolls sat down and looked through 
it : he was looking a long while." 

^^ What next did you see ?^' 

'^When Georo-e Prattleton had his back turned 
to the table, I saw Rolls blow out the light. He 



MILDRED AKKELL. 147 

pretended it had gone out of itself, and asked 
George Prattleton to fetch the matches from the 
bench at the entrance door. As soon as Georo^e 
Prattleton had gone for them, a light reappeared 
in the vestry, and I saw Rolls place what looked 
to be a piece of thick pasteboard behind one of the 
leaves, and then draw a knife down it and cut it 
out. He put the leaf and the board and the knife 
into his pocket, and blew out the candle again. 
" Did George Prattleton see nothing of this ?" 
'^ No. He was gone for the matches, and when 
he came back the vestry was in darkness, as he had 
left it. ' Nothing risk, nothing win ; I thought I 
could do him,^ I heard Rolls say to himself.^^ 
"After that?" 

" After that, when Mr. George Prattleton came 
back with the matches. Rolls lighted the candle 
and continued to look over the register, and George 
Prattleton grumbled at him for being so long. 
Presently Rolls shut the book and hurraed, saying 
that it was not in, and Mr. Prattleton might put 
it up again .^^ 

"Did you understand what he meant by 'it.' 
Can you repeat the words he used T' 

" I believe I can, or nearly so, for I have thought 
of them often since. '^It's not in the register, 
Prattleton,' he said. ' Hurrah ! It will be thou- 
sands of pounds in our pockets. When the other 

10—2 



148 MILDRED AEKELL. 

side brought forth the lame tale that there was 
such an entry, we thought it a hag of moonshine/ 
I think that was it/' 

" What next happened V 

" I saw Rolls hand the book to George Prattle- 
ton, and then I went down the church as quietly 
as I could J and found the key in the door and got 
out. I hid behind a tombstone, and I saw them 
both come from the church, and Mr. George Prat- 
tleton locked it and put the ke}^ in his pocket. I 
heard them disputing at the door, when they found 
it open ; Rolls accused George Prattleton of un- 
locking the door when he went to get the matches ; 
and Georore Prattleton accused Rolls of havino^ neo;- 
lected to lock it when they entered the church.'^ 

" Meanwhile it was you who had unlocked it, to 
let yourself out ?'' 

" Yes. And I was in too great a hurry, for fear 
they should see me, to shut it after me.^' 

'^ A very nicely concocted tale !" sneered Serjeant 
Siftem, after several more questions had been asked 
of Henr}^, and he rose to cross examine. '^You 
would like the court and jury to believe you, sir?" 

" I hope all will believe, who hear me, for it is 
the truth," he answered, with simplicity. And he 
had his wish ; for all did believe him ; and Ser- 
jeant Siftem's searching questions, and insinuations 
that the faiicied George Prattleton and Rolls were 



MILDRED ARKELL. 149 

nothing but ghosts, failed to shake his testimon}-, 
or their belief. 

The next witness called was Roland Carr Lewis, 
who had just come into court, marshalled by the 
second master. A messenger, attended by a javelin 
man, had been despatched in hot haste to the col- 
lege schoolroom, demanding the attendance of 
Roland Lewis. Mr. Roberts, confounded by their 
appearance, and perplexed by the obscure tale of 
the messenger, that ^^two of the college gentle- 
men, Lew4s and another, was found to have had 
som'at to do with the theft from the register, 
though not, he b'lieved, in the w^ay of thieving it 
theirselves,^^ left his desk and his duties, and accom- 
panied Lewis. The head master had been in court 
all the morning. 

"You are in the college school,'"* said Serjeant 
Wrangle, after Lewis was sw^orn, and had given 
his name. 

" King's scholar, sir, and third senior,'"' replied 
Lewis, who could scarcely speak for fright; which 
was not lessened when he caught sight of the 
Dean of Westerbury on the bench, next the 
judge. 

" Did you shut up a companion, Henry Cheveley 
Arkell, in the church of St. James the Less, one 
afternoon last November, when he had gone in to 
practise on the organ ?" 



150 MILDRED ARKELL. 

Lewis wiped liis face, and tried to calm his 
breathing, and glared fearfully towards the bench, 
but never spoke. 

" You have been sworn to tell the truth, the 
whole truth, and nothing but the truth, sir, and you 
must do so," said the judge, staring at his ugly face, 
through his glasses. " Answer the question." 

^^Y— es." 

" What was your motive for doing so ?" asked 
Serjeant Wrangle. 

"It was only done in fun. I didn't mean to 
hurt him." 

" Pretty fun !" ejaculated one of the jury, who 
had a timid boy of his own in the college school, 
and thought how horrible might be the conse- 
quences should he get locked up in St. Jameses 
Church. 

" How long did you leave him there ?" 

" I don''t know. I took back the key to the 
clerk's, and the next morning, when we went to 
let him out, he was gone." 

"Who is '^we?' Who w^as with you?" cried 
Serjeant Wrangle, catching at the word. 

" Mr. George Prattleton. He was at the clerk's 
in the morning, and I told him about it, and 
asked him to get the key, for Hunt would not let 
me have it. So he was coming with me to open 
the church; but Hunt happened to say that 



MILDRED AEKELL. 151 

Arkell had just been to his house. He had got out 
somehow/^ 

When this witness, after a good deal of badger- 
ing, was released, Serjeant Siftem, a bright thought 
having occurred to him, desired that the Reverend 
Mr. "VVilberforce might get into the witness-box. 
The Reverend Mr. Wilberforce did so ; and the 
Serjeant began, in an insinuating tone : 

" The witness, Henry Cheveley Arkell, is under 
your tuition in the collegiate school, I assume ?" 

" He is," sternly replied Mr. Wilberforce, who 
had not forgotten Serjeant Siftem^s insult of the 
previous day. 

" Would you believe him on his oath ?" 

"On his oath, or without it." 

"Oh, you would, w^ould you?" retorted the Ser- 
jeant. " Schoolboys are addicted to romancing, 
though." 

"Henry Arkell is of strict integrity. His word 
may be implicitly trusted." 

"I can bear testimony to Henry ArkelFs ho- 
nourable and truthful nature," spoke up the 
dean, from his place beside the judge, " His 
general conduct is exemplary; a pattern to the 
school." 

" Henry Cheveley Arkell," roared out the un- 
daunted Serjeant Siftem, drowning the dean^s 
voice. " I have done with )/0Uy Mr. Wilberforce." 



152 MILDRED AEKELL. 

So the master left the \vitness-box_, and Henry re- 
entered it. 

" I omitted to put a question to you, Mr. Cho- 
rister," began Serjeant Siftem. "Should you 
know this fabulous gentleman of your imagination, 
this Rolls, if you were to see him?'^ 

" Yes," replied Henry. " I saw him this morning 
as 1 came into court." 

That shut up Serjeant Siftem. 

"Where did you see him?" inquired the judge. 

" In the outer hall, my lord. He was with Mr. 
Valentine Carr. But I am not sure that his name 
is Rolls," added the witness. " When I pointed 
him out to Mr. Fauntleroy, he was surprised, and 
said that was Richards, ^lynn and Mynn^s clerk." 

The judge whispered a word to somebody with 
a white wand, who was standing near him, and 
that person immediately went hunting about the 
court to find this Rolls or Richards, and bring him 
before the judge. But Rolls had made himself 
scarce ere the conclusion of Henry ArkelPs first 
evidence ; and, as it transpired afterwards, decamped 
from the town. The next witness put into the 
box was Mr. George Prattleton. 

" You are aware, I presume, of the evidence 
given by Henry Cheveley Arkell," said Serjeant 
Wrangle. " Can you deny that part of it which 
relates to yourself?" 



MILDRED ARKELL. 153 

^' No^ unfortunately I cannot/^ replied George 
Prattleton^ who was very down in the mouth — as 
his looks were described by a friend of his in court. 
'' Rolls is a villain/' 

" That is not evidence,, sir/' said the judge. 

" He is a despicable villain, my lord/' returned 
the witness, giving way to his injured feelings. 
" He came to Westerbury, pretending to be a 
stranger, and calling himself Rolls, and I got ac- 
quainted witli him ; that is, he scraped acquaint- 
ance witli me, and we were soon intimate. Then 
he began to make use of me ; he asked if I would 
do him a favour. He wanted to get a private sight 
of the register in St. James's Church. So I con- 
sented, I am sorry to say, to get him a private 
sight ; but I made the bargain that he should not 
copy a single word out of it, and of course I meant 
to be with him and watch him." 

" Did you know that his request had reference 
to the case of Carr versus Carr?" inquired Serjeant 
Wrangle. 

''No, I'll swear I did not," retorted the witness, 
in an earnest tone, forgetting, probably, that he 
was already on his oath. " He never told me why 
lie wanted to look. He would go in at night : if 
he were seen entering the church in the day, it 
might be fatal to his client's cause, was the tale 
he told ; and I am ashamed to acknowledge that I 



154 • MILDRED ARKELL. 

took him in at night, and suffered him to look at 
the register. I have heard to-day that his name 
is Richards/' 

" You knew where the key of the safe was kept ?'* 

^^ Yes ; I was one day in the church with the 
Reverend Mr. Prattleton, and saw him take it from 
its place." 

'^ Did 3^ on see Rolls (as we will call him) ab- 
stract the leaf?" 

" Of course I did not/' indignantly retorted the 
witness. " I suddenly found the vestry in dark- 
ness, and he got me to fetch the matches, which 
were left on the bench at the entrance door. It 
must have been done then. Soon after I returned 
he gave me back the register, saying the entry he 
wanted was not there, and I locked it up again. 
When we got to the church door we were asto- 
nished to find it open, but " 

''^But did you not suspect it was opened by 
one who had watched your proceedings/' inter- 
rupted the judge. 

"No, my lord. Rolls left the town the next 
morning early; when I went to find him he was 
srone, and I have never been able to see him since. 
That's all I know of the transaction, and I can only 
publicly repeat my deep regret and shame that I 
should have been drawn into such a one." 

" Drawn, however, without much scruple, as it 



MILDRED ARK ELL. 155 

appears/' rebuked the judge, with a severe counte- 
nance. " Allow me to ask you, sir, when it was 
you first became acquainted with the fact that a 
theft had been perpetrated on the register ?" 

Mr. George Prattleton did not immediately 
answer. He would have given much not to be 
obliged to do so : but the court wore an ominous 
silence, and the judge waited his reply. 

"The day after it took place, Arkell, the 
college boy, came and told me what he had seen, 
but " 

" Then, sir, it was your duty to have proclaimed 
it, and to have had steps taken to arrest your con- 
federate. Rolls," interrupted the stern judge. 

" But, my lord, I did not believe Arkell. I did 
not indeed," he added, endeavouring to impart to 
his tone an air of veracity, and therefore — as is 
sure to be the case — imparting to it just the con- 
trary. " I could not believe that Rolls, or any 
one else in a respectable position, such he appeared 
to occupy, would be guilty of so felonious an 
action. ^■' 

" The less excuse you make upon the point, the 
better," observed the judge. 

For some few minutes Serjeant Siftem and his 
party had been conferring in whispers. The Ser- 
jeant, at this stage, spoke. 

" My lord, this revelation has come upon my 



156 MILDRED ARKELL. 

instructors^ Mynn a)id Mynn^ with the most utter 
surprise, and '' 

" The man_, Rolls, or Richards, is really clerk to 
Mynn and Mynn, I am informed," interrupted the 
judge, in as significant a tone as a presiding judge 
permits himself to assume. 

^' He was, my lord ; but he will not be in future. 
They discard him from this hour. In fact, should 
he not make good his escape from the country, 
which it is more than likely he is already endeavour- 
ing to effect, he will probably at the next assizes 
find himself placed before your lordship for judg- 
ment, should you happen to come this circuit, and 
preside in the other court. But ]Mynn and Mynn 
wish to disclaim, in the most emphatic manner, all 
cognizance of this man's crime. They '' 

'' There is no charge to be brought against 
Mynn and Mynn in connexion with it, is there V 
again interposed the judge. 

''Most certainly not, my lord," replied the 
counsel, in a lofty tone, meant to impress the 
public ear. 

''Then, Brother Siftem, it appears to me that 
you need not take up the time of the court to 
enter on their defence." 

" I bow to your lordship's opinion. Mynn and 
Mynn and their client, Squire Carr, are not less 
indio-nant that so rascallv a trick should have been 



MILDRED ARKELL. 157 

perpetrated than the public must be. But this 
evidence, which has come upon them in so over- 
whelming a manner, they feel they cannot hope to 
confute. I am therefore instructed to inform your 
lordship and the jury, that they withdraw from 
the suit, and permit a verdict to be entered for the 
other side." 

"Very good/' replied the judge. 

And thus, after certain technicalities had been 
observed, the proceedings were concluded, and the 
court began to empty itself of its spectators. For 
once the Right had prospered. But Westerbury 
held its breath with awe when it came to reflect 
that it was the revengeful act of Roland Carr 
Lewis, that locking up in the church, which had 
caused his family to be despoiled of the inheritance 
they had taken to themselves ! 

The Reverend Mr. Wilberforce laid hold of Henry 
Arkell, as he was leaving the Guildhall. " Tell 
me,'^ said he, but not in an angry tone, " how much 
more that is incomprehensible are you keeping 
secret, allowing it to come out to me piecemeal?" 

Henry smiled. " I don't think there is any 
more, sir." 

" Yes, there is. It is incomprehensible why 
you should not have disclosed at the time all you 
had been a witness to in the church. A¥hy did 
you not?" 



158 MILDRED ARKELL. 

'^ I could not speak without compromisiug George 
Prattleton^ sir; and if I had^ he might have been 
brought to trial for it/^ 

*' Serve him right too/^ said Mr. Wilberforce. 

Presently Henry met the dean^ his daughter, 
Frederick St. John_, and Lady Anne. The dean 
stopped him. 

'• "What do you call yourself? A lion ?" 

Henry smiled faintly. 

'^ I think you stand a fair chance of being pro- 
moted into one. Do you know what I wished to- 
day, when you were giving your evidence?'^ 

"No, sir." 

'^ That yoii were my own son.^^ 

Henry involuntarily glanced at Georgina, and 
she glanced at him : her face retained its calmness, 
but a flush of crimson came over his. No one ob- 
served them but Mr. St. John. 

" I want you at the deanery to-night," conti- 
nued the dean, releasing Henr3% '^No excuse 
about lessons now : your fall on Sunday has given 
you holiday. You will come?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" I mean to dinner — seven o'clock. The judges 
will be there. The one who tried the cause said 
he should like to meet you. Go and rest yourself 
until then." 

" Thank you, sir. I will come." 



MILDRED AEKELL. 151> 

Georgiua's eyes sparkled, and she nodded to 
him in triumph a dozen times_, as she walked on 
with the dean. 

Following in the Avake of the dean's party came 
the Rev. Mr. Prattleton. • Henry approached him 
timidly. 

*' I hope you will forgive me, sir. I could not 
help giving my evidence.^^ 

"Forgive you!" echoed Mr. Prattleton; "I 
wish nobody wanted forgiveness w^orse than you 
do. You have acted nobly throughout. I have 
recommended Mr. George to get out of the town for 
a while; not to remain in it in idleness and trouble 
my table any longer. He can join his friend EoUs 
on the continent if he likes : I understand he is 
most likely off thither." 

The fraud was not brought home to the Carr 
family. It was indisputably certain that the squire 
himself had known nothing whatever of it : had 
never even been aware that the marriaire was 
entered on the register of St. James the Less. 
Wbether bis sons Valentine and Benjamin were 
equally guiltless, was a matter of opinion. Valen- 
tine solemnly protested that nothing had ever been 
told to him ; but he did acknowledge that Richards 
came to him one evening, and said he thought the 
cause was likely to be imperilled by '• certain pro- 
ceedings" that the other side were taking. He, 



160 MjLDEED aekell. 

Valentine Carr, authorized him to do what he could 
to counteract these proceedings (only intending 
him to act in a fair manner), and gave him carte 
blanche in a moderate way for the money that 
might be required. He acknowledged to no more : 
and perhaps he had no more to acknowledge : 
neither did he say lio^i: much he had paid to Richards. 
Benjamin treated the whole matter with contempt. 
The most indignant of all were Mynn and Mynn. 
Really respectable practitioners, it was in truth a 
very disagreeable thing to have been forced upon 
them ; and could they have got at their ex-clerk, 
they would willingly have transported him. 

And Mr. Fauntleroy, in the flush of his great 
victory, in the plenitude of his gratitude to the boy 
whose singular evidence had caused him to win the 
battle, went down that same day to Peter Arkell's 
and forgave him the miserable debt that had so 
long hampered him. For once in his life, the 
lawyer showed himself generous. People used to 
say that such was his nature before the world 
hardened him. 

So, taking one thing with another, it was a 
satisfactory termination to the renowned cause, 
Carr versus Carr. 

It was a large state dinner at the deanery. But 
the chief thing that Henry Arkell saw at it was, 
that ]Mr. St. John sat by Georgina Beauclerc. The 



MILDRED ARKELL. 161 

judges — who did not appear in their wigs and fiery 
gowns, to the relief of private country individuals 
of wide imaginations, that could not usually sepa- 
rate them — were pleasant men, and their faces did 
not look so yellow by candle-light. They talked 
to Henry a great deal, and he had to rehearse over, 
for the general benefit, all the scene of that past 
night in St. Jameses Church. Mrs. Beauclerc, 
usually so indifi'erent, was aroused to especial inte- 
rest, and would not quit the theme; neither would 
Lady Anne St. John, now visiting at the Palmery, 
and who w^as present with Mrs. St. John. 

But Georgina — oh, the curious wiles of a woman''s 
heart ! — took little or no notice of Henry. The}' 
had been for some time in the drawing-room before 
she came near him at all — before she addressed a 
word to him. At dinner she had been absorbed in 
Mr. St. John : gay, laughing, animated, her 
thoughts, her words, were all for him. Sarah 
Beauclerc, conspicuous that night for her beauty, 
sat opposite to them, but St. John had not the 
opportunity of speaking to her, beyond a passing 
word now and again. In the drawing-room, no 
longer fettered — though perhaps the fetters had 
been willing ones — St. John went at once to Sarah, 
and he did not leave her side. Ah ! Henry saw it 
all : both those fair girls loved Frederick St. John ! 
What would be the ending ? 

VOL. III. 11 



162 MILDRED ARKELL. 

Georgina sat at a table apart, reading a new 
book, or appearing to read it. Was she covertly 
watching that sofa at a distance ? It was so dif- 
ferent, this sitting still, from her usual restless 
habits of flitting everywhere. Suddenly she closed 
her book, and went up to them. 

" I have come to call you to account, Fred,^^ she 
began, speaking in her most familiar manner, but 
in a low tone. " Don't you see whose heart you 
are breaking V 

He had been sitting with his head slightly bent, 
as he spoke in a whisper to his beautiful companion. 
Her eyes were cast down, her fingers uncon- 
sciously pulled apart the petals of some geranium 
she held; her whole attitude bespoke a not un- 
willing listener. Georgina^s salutation surprised 
both, for they had not seen her approach. They 
looked up. 

"What do you say?'' cried St. John. "Break- 
ing somebody's heart ? Whose ? Yours ?" 

She laughed in derision, flirting some of the 
scent out of a golden phial she had taken up. 
" Sarah, yoto should have more consideration,^' 
she continued. " It is all very well when Lady 
Anne's not present, but when she is — There ! you 
need not go into a flaming fever and fling your 
angry eyes upon me. Look at Sarah's face, Mr. 
St. John." 



MILDRED ARKELL. 1G3 

Mr. St. John walked away, as though he had 
not heard. Sarah caught hold of her cousin. 

"There is a limit to endurance, Georgina. If 
you pursue this style of conversation to me — learnt, 
as I have repeatedly told you, from the housemaids, 
unless it is inherent,^'' she added, in deep scorn — 
" I shall make an appeal to the dean." 

" Make it,''^ said Georgina, laughing. " It was 
too bad of you, Sarah, with his future wife present. 
She^ll go to bed and dream of jealousy." 

Quitting her cousin, she went straight up to 
Henry Arkell. "Why do you mope like this?" 
she cried. 

" Mope !" he repeated. 

He had been at another table leaning his head 
upon his hand. It was aching much : and he told 
her so. 

"Oh, Harr}^, I am sorry; I forgot your fall. 
Will you sing a song ?" 

"I don't think I can to-night." 

" But papa has been talking to the judges about 
it. I heard him say your singing was worth 
listening to. I suppose he had been telling them 
all about you, and the whole romance, you kiiow, 
of Mrs. Peter ArkelPs marriage, for one of them — 
it was the old one — said he used to be intimate 
with her father. Colonel Cheveley. Here comes 
the dean ! that's to ask you to sing." 

11—3 



164 MILDRED ARKELL. 

He sat down at oncGj and sang* a song of the 
day. Then he went on to one that I dare say you 
all know and like — " Shall I, wasting in despair/' 
At its conclusion one of the judges — it was the old 
one, as Georgina irreverently called him — came to 
him at the pianOj and asked if he could sing 
Luther^s Hymn. 

A few chords by way of prelude, lasting some 
few minutes, probably played to form a break 
between the worldly song and the sacred one — for 
if anyone was ever endowed with an innate sense 
of what was due to sacred things, it was Henry 
Ark ell — and then the grand old hymn, in all its 
beautiful simplicity, burst upon their ears. Never 
had it been done greater justice to than it was by that 
solitary college boy. The room was hushed to still- 
ness ; the walls echoed with the sweet sounds ; the 
solemn words thrilled on the listeners' hearts, and 
the sin over's whole soul seemed to 2:0 un with 
them. Oh, how strange it was, that the judge 
should have called for that particular, sacred song ! 

The echoes of it died away in the deepest still- 
ness. It w^as broken by Henry himself ; he closed 
the piano, as if nothing else must be allowed to 
come after that; and the tacit mandate was ac- 
cepted, and nobody thought of inquiring how he 
came to assume the liberty in the dean's house. 

Gradually the room resumed its humming and 



MILDRED ARKELL. 165 

its self- absorption, and Georgina Beauclerc, under 
cover of it_, went up to him. 

" How could you make the excuse that your 
head was aching? None, with any sort of sick- 
ness upon them, could sing as you have just done/^ 

" Not even with heart sickness/'' he answered. 

'' Now you are going to be absurd again ! What 
do you mean ?^^ 

"To-night has taught me a great deal, Georgina. 
If I have been foolish enough — fond enough, I 
might say — to waver in my doubts before, that's 
over for ever.^" 

"So much the better ; you will be cured now." 

She had spoken only lightly, not meaning to be 
unkind or unfeeling; but she saw what she had 
done, by his quivering lip. Leaning across him as 
he stood, under cover of showing hira something 
on the table, she spoke in a deep, earnest tone. 

" Henry, you know it could never be. Better 
that you should see the truth now, than go on in 
this dream of folly. Stay awaj^for a short while if 
you will, and overget it ; and then we will be fast 
friends as before." 

" And this is to be the final ending?" 

She stole a glance round at him, his voice had 
so strange a sound in it. Every trace of colour 
had faded from his face. 

"Yes; it is the only possible ending. If you 



166 MILDEED ARK ELL. 

get on well and become somebody grand, you and 
I can be as brother and sister in after life/^ 

She moved away as she spoke. It may be that 
ahe saw further trifling would not do. But even 
in the last sentence, thoughtlessly though she had 
spoken it, there was an implied consciousness of 
the wide difference in their social standing, all too 
prominent to that sensitive ear. 

A minute afterwards St. John looked round for 
him, and could not see him. 

" AVhere^s Henry Arkell T' he asked of Georgina. 

She looked round also. 

" He is gone, I suppose,^^ she answered. " He 
was in one of his stupid moods to-night.^^ 

" That^s something new for him. Stupid V 

" I used the word in a wide sense. Crazy would 
have been better.^^ 

*' What do you mean, Georgina ?" 

^' He is a little crazy at times — to me. There ! 
that's all I am going to tell you : you are not my 
father confessor.''-' 

"True,'' he said; "but I think I understand 
without confession. Take care, Georgina." 

"Take care of what?" 

"Of — I may as well say it — of exciting hopes 
that are most unlikely to be realized. Better play 
a true part than a false one." 

She laughed a little saucy laugh. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 167 

" Don^t you think I might turn the tables and 
warn you of that ? What false hopes are you ex- 
citing, Mr. St. John r 

'^None/^ he answered. " It is not in my nature 
to be false, even in sport. ^^ 

Her laugh changed to one of derision ; and Mr. 
St. John, disliking the sound, disliking the words, 
turned from her, and joined the dean, who was 
then deep in a discussion with one of the judges. 



168 MILDRED ARKELL. 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE SHADOW OF DEATH. 

The days went on ; and the dull, heavy pain in 
the head, complained of by Henry Arkell, increased 
in intensity. At first his absence from his desk at 
school, his vacant place at college, excited comment, 
but in time, as the newness of it wore off, it grew 
to be no longer noticed. It is so with all things. 
On the afternoon of the fall, the family surgeon 
w^as called in to him : he saw no cause for appre- 
hension, he said ; the head only required rest. It 
might have been better, perhaps, had the head 
(including the body and brain) been able to take 
the recommended rest ; but it could not. On the 
Monday morning came the excitement of the 
medal affair, as related to him by Mr. St. John, 
and also by many of the school; in the evening 
there occurred the excitement of that business of 
the register; the interview with the Prattletons, 
and subsequently with Mr. Fauntleroy. On the 
next day he had to appear as a witness ; and then 



MILDRED ARKELL. 169 

came the decaneiy dinner in the evening; and 
Georgina Beauclerc. All sources of great and 
unwonted excitement, had he been in his usual 
state of health : what it was to him now, never 
could be ascertained. 

As the days went on, and the pain grew no 
better, but worse, and the patient more heavy, it 
dawned into the surgeon^s mind that he possibly 
did not understand the case, and it might be as 
well to have the advice of a physician. The most 
clever the city afforded was summoned, and he did 
not appear to understand it either. That there 
was some internal injury to the head, both agreed; 
but what it might be, it was not so easy to state. 
And thus more days crept on, and the doctors paid 
their regular visits, and the pain still grew worse ; 
and then the half -shadowed doubt glided into a 
certainty which had little shadow about it, but 
stern substance — that the injury was rapidly run- 
ning on to a fatal issue. 

He did not take to his bed : he would sit at his 
chamber window in an easy chair, his poor aching 
head resting on a pillow. " You would be better 
in bed," everybody said to him. " No, he thought 
he was best up/^ he answered ; " it was more 
change : when he was tired of the chair and the 
pillow, he could lie down outside the bed." " It is 
unaccountable his liking to be so much at the 



170 MILDRED ARKELL. 

window/' Mrs. Peter Arkell remarked to Lucy. 
To them it might be ; for how could they know 
that a sight of one who might pass and cast a 
glance up to him^ made his day^s happiness ? 

That considerable commotion was excited by the 
opinion of the doctors, however cautiously inti- 
mated, was only to be expected. Mr. Arkell heard 
of it, and brought another physician, without saying 
anything beforehand at Peter's. But it would seem 
that this gentleman's opinion did not differ in any 
material degree from that of his brethren. 

The Reverend Mr. Wilberforce sat at the head 
of his dinner- table, eating his own dinner and 
carving for his pupils. His face looked hot and 
angry, and his spectacles were pushed to the top 
of his brow, for if there was one thing more than 
another that excited the ire of the master, it was 
that of the boys being unpunctual at meals, and 
Cookesley had this day chosen to be absent. The 
second serving of boiled beef was going round when 
he made his appearance. 

*^ What sort of behaviour do you call this, sir ?" 
was the master's salutation. "Do you expect to 
get any dinner?'' 

"I am very sorry to be so late, sir,'' replied 
Cookesley, eyeing the boiled beef wishfully, but not 
daring to take his seat. "I went to see Arkell, 
and " 



MILDRED ARKELL. 171 

"And wlio is Arkell, pray^ or you either, that 
you must upset the regulations of my house?" 
retorted the master. " You should choose your 
visiting times better, Mr. Cookesley.^^ 

" Yes, sir. I heard he was worse ; that's the 
reason I went ; and when I got there the dean was 
with him. I waited, and waited, but I had to come 
away without seeing Ark ell, after all.''' 

"The dean with Arkell !'' echoed Mr. Wilber- 
force, in a disbelieving tone. 

" He is there still, sir. Arkell is a great deal 
worse. They say he will never come to school or 
colleore as^ain." 

" Who says so, pray ?'' 

"Everybody's saying it now," returned 
Cookesley. "There's something wrong with 
his head, sir; some internal injury caused by 
the fall ; but they don't know whether it's an ab- 
scess, or what it is. It will kill him, they think." 

The master's wrath had faded : truth to say, his 
anger was generally more fierce in show than in 
reality. " You may take your seat for this once, 

Cookesley, but if ever you transgress again 

Hallo !" broke off the master, as he cast his eyes on 
another of his pupils, "what's the matter with you, 
Le^vis junior? Are you choking, sir ?" 

Lewis junior was choking, or gasping, or some- 
thing of the sort, for his face was distorted, and his 



172 MILDRED ARKELL. 

eyes were round with seeming fright. " What is 
it ?'' angrily repeated the master. 

" It was the piece of meat_, sir/^ gasped Lewis. 
A ready excuse. 

*^No it wasn't/^ put in Vaughan the bright, who 
sat next to Lewis junior. '^ Here's the piece of 
meat you were going to eat; it dropped off the fork 
on to your plate again ; it couldn^t be the meat. 
He's choking at nothing, sir.^' 

'^ Then, if you must choke, you had better go and. 
choke outside, and come back when it^s over," said 
the master to Lewis. And away Lewis went; none 
guessing at the fear and horror which had taken 
possession of him. 

The assize week had passed, and the week follow- 
ing it, and still Henry Arkell had not made his 
appearance in the cathedral or the school. The 
master could not make it out. AVas it likely that 
the effects of a fall, which broke no bones, bruised 
no limbs, onfy told somewhat heavily upon his head, 
should last all this while, and incapacitate him from 
his duties? Had it been any other of the king^s 
scholars, no matter which of the whole thir ty-nine 
Mr. Wilberforce would have said that he was skulk- 
ing, and sent a sharp mandate for him to appear in 
his place; but he thought he knew better things 
of Henry Arkell. He did not much like what 
Cookesley said now — that Arkell might never come 



MILDKED ARK ELL. 173 

out again^ thoug-h lie received the information with 
disbehef. 

Mv. St. John was a daily visitor to the invalid. 
On the day before this, when he entered, Henry was 
at his usual post, the window, but standing up, his 
head resting against the frame, and his eyes strained 
after some distant object outside. So absorbed v/as 
he, that Mr. St. John had to touch his arm to draw 
his attention, and Henry drew back with a start. 

" How are you to-day, Harry ? Better ?^' 

" No, thank you. This curious pain in my head 
gets worse.^"* 

'^ "Why do you call it curious ?'" 

"It is not like an ordinar}^ pain. And I cannot 
tell exactly where it is. I cannot put my hand on 
any part of my head and say it is here or it is there. 
It seems to be in the centre of the inside — as if it 
could not be got at.^"* 

" What were you watching so eagerly ?^' 

"I was looking outside,^^ was Henry's evasive 
reply. "They had Dr. Ware to me this morning; 
did you know it ?^^ 

" I am glad of that V' exclaimed Mr. St. Jolm. 
" AYhat does he say ?" 

" I did not hear him say much. He asked me 
where my head was struck when I fell, but I could 
not tell him — I did not know at the time, you re- 
member. He and Mr. '' 



174 MILDRED ARKELL. 

Henry's voice faltered. A sudden, almost im- 
perceptible, movement of the head nearer the 
window, and a wild accession of colour to his 
feverish cheek, betrayed to Mr. St. John that 
something was passing which bore for him a deep 
interest. He raised his own head and caught a 
sufficient glimpse : Georgina Beauderc. 

It told Mr. St. John all : though he had not 
needed to be told; and Miss Beauclerc's mysterious 
words, and Henry^s past conduct became clear to 
liim. So ! the boy's heart had been thus early 
awakened — and crushed. 

" The heart that is soonest awake to the flowers 
Is always the first to be touched by the thorns," 

whistled Mr. St. John to himself. 

Ay, crushing is as sure to follow that early 
awaking, as that thorns grow on certain rose-trees. 
But Mr. St. John said nothing more that day. 

On the following day, upon going in, he found 
Henry in bed. 

'^ Like a sensible man as you are,^' quoth Mr. 
St. John, by way of salutation. "Now don't rise 
from it again until yow. are better.^'' 

Henry looked at him, an expression in his eyes 
that Mr. St. John did not like, and did not under- 
stand. " Did they tell you anything downstairs, 
Mr. St. John V he inquired. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 175 

" I did not see anyone but the servant. I came 
straight up/^ 

" Mamma is lying down, I dare say ; she has 
been sitting with me part of the night. Then I 
will tell it you. I shall not be here many days/' 
he whispered,, putting his hand within Mr. St. 
John's. 

Mr. St. John did not take the meaning : that 
the case would have a fatal termination had not yet 
crossed his mind. "Where shall you be?" cried 
he, gaily, " up in the moon ?'' 

Henry sighed. " Up somewhere. I am going 
to die.'' 

" Going to what ?" was the angry response. 

" I am dying, Mr. St. John." 

Mr. St. John's pulses stood still. "Who has 
been putting that rubbish in your head?" cried 
he, when he recovered them sufficiently to 
speak. 

"The doctors told my father yesterday evening, 
that as I went on, like this, from bad to worse, 
without their being able to discover the true nature 
of the case, they saw that it must terminate fatally. 
He knew that they had feared it before. After- 
wards mamma came and broke it to me." 

" Why did she do so ?" involuntarily uttered Mr. 
St. John, in an accent of reproach. "Thougli their 
opinion may be unfavourable — which I don't be- 



176 MILDRED AHKELL. 

lieve, mind — they had no right to frighten you 
with it/' 

" It does not frighten me. Just at first I shrank 
from the news, hut I am quite reconciled to it now. 
A faint idea that this might he the ending, has 
heen running through my own mind for some days 
past, though I would not dwell on it sufficiently to 
crive it a form.'^ 

" I am astonished that INIrs. Arkell should have 
imparted it to you !" emphatically repeated Mr. 
St. John. ^^What could she have been thinking 
of?'' 

'^ Oh, Mr. St. John ! mamma has striven to 
bring us up not to fear death. What would have 
been the use of her lessons, had she thought I 
should run in terror from it when it came ?'' 

"She ought not to have told you — she ought 
not to have told you !" was the continued burden 
of Mr. St. John's song. " You may get well 
yet." 

'^ Then there is no harm done. But, with death 
near, would you have had me, the only one it con- 
cerns, left in ignorance to meet it, not knowing it 
was there? Mamma has not waited herself for 
death — as she has done, you know, for years — with- 
out learning a better creed than that." 

Mr. St. John made no reply, and Henry went 
on : '^ I have had such a pleasant night with 



MILDRED ARKELL. 177 

mamma. She read to me parts of the Kevelation ; 
and in talking of the glories which I may soon see, 
will you believe that I almost forgot my pain ? She 
says how thankful she is now^ that she has been 
enabled to train me up more carefully than many 
boys are trained — to think more of God/' 

'' You are a strange boy," interrupted ^Ir. St. 
John. 

" In what way am I strange ?" 

" Ta anticipate death in that tone of cool ease. 
Have you no regrets to leave behind you ?" 

" Many regrets ; but the}^ seemed to fade into 
insignificance last night, while mamma was talking 
with me. It is best that they should. ^^ 

" Harry, it strikes me that you have had your 
griefs and troubles, inexperienced as you are,^^ 
resumed Mr. St. John. 

*' Oh yes, I have," he answered, betrayed into an 
earnestness, incompatible with cautious reserve. 
" Some of the college boys have not suffered me to 
lead a pleasant life with them,^^ he continued, more 
calmly; "and then there has been my father's 
gradually straitening income. ''' 

" I think there must have been some other grief 
than these," was Mr. St. John's remark. 

" What other grief could there have been ?" 

" I know but of one. And you are over young 
for that." 

VOL. III. 12 



178 MILDEED ARKELL. 

^' Of course I am ; too young/'' was tlie eager 
answer. 

"That is enough/' quietly returned Mr. St. 
John ; " I did not tell you to betray yourself. Nay, 
Henry, don't shrink from me ; let me hear it : it 
will be better and happier for you that I should." 

"There is nothing — I don^t know what you 
mean — what are you talking of, Mr. St. John?^' 
was the incoherent answer. 

" Harry, my poor boy, I know almost as much as 
you," he whispered. " I know what it is, and who 
it is. Georgie Beauclerc. There ; you cannot tell 
me much, you see." 

Henry Arkell laid his hand across his face and 
aching eyes; his chest was heaving with emotion. 
Mr. St. John leaned over him, not less tenderly 
than a mother. 

"You should not have wasted your love upon 
Jier : she is a heartless girl. I expect she drew you 
on, and then turned round and said she did not 
mean it." 

" Oh yes, she did draw me on," he replied, in a 

tone full of anguish ; "otherwise,! never But it 

was my fault also. I ought to have remembered 
the many barriers that divided us ; the " 

" You ought to have remembered that she is an 
incorrigible flirt, that is what you ought to have 
remembered/^ interrupted Mr. St. John. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 179 

" Well, weW" sighed Henry, '^ I cannot speak of 
these things to you : less to you than to any one/' 

" Is that an enigma ? I should think you could 
best speak of them to me, because I have guessed 
your secret, and the ice is broken.'^ 

Again Henry Arkell sighed. " Speaking of 
them at all will do no good ; and I would no\v 
rather think of the future than of the past. My 
future lies there,''' he added, pointing to the blue 
sky, which, as seen from his window, formed a 
canopy over the cathedral tower. " She has, in all 
probability, many years before her here : Mr. St. 
John, if she and you spend those years together, 
will you sometimes talk of me ? I should not like 
to be quite forgotten by you — or by her.'' 

" Spend them together !" he echoed. ''^ Another 
enigma. What should bring me spending my 
years with Georgina Beauclerc?" 

Henry withdrew his hands from his eyes, and 
turned them on Mr. St. John. "Do you think 
she will never be your wife ?" 

"She I Georgina Beauclerc ! No, thank you." 

Henry Arkell's face wore an expression that Mr. 
St. John understood not. " It was for your sake she 
treated me so ill. She loves you, Mr. St. John. 
And I think you know it." 

" She is a little simpleton. I would not marry 
Georgie Beauclerc if there were not another English 

12 2 



180 MILDRED ARKELL. 

girl extant. And as to loving her Harry, I 

only wish, if we are to lose you, that I loved you 
but one tenth part as little.^' 

" Sorrow in store for her ! sorrow in store for 
her V he murmured, as he turned his face to the 
pillow. " I must send her a message before I die : 
you will deliver it for me ?'' 

" I won^t have you talk about dying,^^ retorted 
Mr. St. John. "You may get well yet, I tell 
you.'' 

Henry opened his eyes again to reply, and the 
calm peace had returned to them. "It maybe 
ver^ soon ; and it is better to talk of death than to 
shrink from it." And Mr. St. John grumbled an 
ungracious acquiescence. 

" And there is another thing I wish you would 
do for me : get Lewis junior here to-day. If I 
send to him, I know he will not come ; but I must 
see him. Tell him, please, that it is only to shake 
hands and make friends ; that I will not say a 
word to grieve him. He will understand.'' 

" It's more than I do," said Mr. St. John. " He 
shall come." 

" I should like to see Aultane — but I don't think 
my head will stand it all. Tell him from me, not to 
be harsh with the choristers now he is senior " 

" He is not senior yet," interposed Mr. St. John 
in a husky tone. 



MILDEED AEKELL. 181 

" It will not be long first. Give him my love, 
and tell him, when I sent it, I meant it fully; and 
that I have no angry feeling towards him." 

'^ Your love?" 

" Yes. It is not an ordinary message from one 
college boy to another/' panted the lad, '^ but I am 
dying." 

After Mr. St. John left the house, he encountered 
the dean. " Dr. Beauclerc, Henry Arkell is dying." 

The dean stared at Mr. St. John. "Dying! 
^enry Arkell !" 

"The inward injury to the head is now pro- 
nounced by the doctors to be a fatal one. They 
told the family last night there w^as little, if any, 
more hope. The boy knows it, and seems quite 
reconciled." 

The dean, without another word or question, 
turned immediately off to Mr. Arkell's, and AVester- 
bury as immediately turned its aristocratic nose 
up. " The idea of his condescending to enter the 
house of those poor Arkells ! had it been the other 
branch of the Arkell family, it would not have been 
quite so lowering. But Dr. Beauclerc never did 
display the dignity properly pertaining to a 
dean." 

Dr. Beauclerc, forgetful as usual of a dean's dig- 
nity, was shown into Mrs. ArkelPs parlour, and 
from thence into Henry Arkell's chamber. The 



182 MILDRED ARKELL. 

boy's ever lovely face flushed crimson, from its 
white pillow, when he saw the dean. ^' Oh, sir ! 
you to come here ! how kind V 

" I am sorry for this, my poor lad,^' said the 
dean, as he sat down. "I hear you are not so 
well : I have just met Mr. St. John.^' 

" I shall never be well again, sir. But do not 
be sorry. I shall be better ofi"; far, far happier 
than I could be here." 

" Do you feel this, genuinely, heartily ?'^ ques- 
tioned the dean. » 

''Oh yes, how can I do otherwise than feel it? 
If it is God^s will to take me, I know it must be 
for my good." 

" Say that again," said the dean. " I do not 
know that I fully caught your meaning." 

" I am in God^s hands : and if He takes me to 
Him earlier than I thought to have gone, I know 
it must be for the best." 

" How long have you reposed so firm a trust in 
God?" 

" All my life," answered Henry, w4th simplicity : 
*' mamma taught me that with my letters. She 
taught me to take God for my guide ; to strive to 
please Him ; implicitly to trust in Him." 

*' And you have done this ?" 

" Oh no, sir, I have only tried to do it. But I 
know that there is One to intercede for me." 



MILDRED ARKELL. 183 

"Have you sure and certain trust in Christ?^' 
returned the dean, after a pause. 

"I have sure and certain trust in Him/' was 
the boy's reply, spoken fervently : " if I had not, I 
should not dare to die. I wish I might have 
received the Sacrament/' he whispered ; '^'but I have 
not been confirmed." 

" Henry/" said the dean, in his quick manner, 
"I do beheve you are more fitted for it than 
are some who take it. Would it be a comfort 
to you?" 

" It would indeed, sir/' 

^' Then I will come and administer it. At seven 
to-night, if that hour will suit your friends. I will 
ascertain when I go down." 

" Oh, sir, you are too good/' he exclaimed, in his 
surprise : " mamma thought of asking Mr. Prattle- 
ton. I am but a poor college boy, and you are the 
Dean of Westerbury." 

" Just so. But when the great King of Terrors 
approaches, as he is now approaching you, it makes 
us remember that in Christ's kingdom the poor 
college boy may stand higher than the Dean of 
Westerbury. Henry, I have watched your con- 
duct more than you are aware of, and I believe you 
to have been as truly good a boy as it is in human 
nature to be : I believe that you have continuously 
striven to please God, in little things as in great." 



184^ MILDRED ARKELL. 

" If I could but have done it more than I have V^ 
thought the boy. 

It was during this interview that Mr. Cookesley 
arrived; and, as you have seen, nearly lost his 
dinner. As soon as the boys rose from table, they, 
full of consternation, trooped down to ArkelFs, 
picking up several more of the hinge's scholars on 
their way, who were not boarders at the house of 
Mr. AVilberforce. The dean had gone then, but 
Mr. St. John was at the door, having called again 
to inquire whether there was any change. He cast 
his eyes on the noisy boys, as they approached the 
gate, and discerned amongst them Lewis junior. 
Mr. St. John stepped outside, and pounced upon 
him, with a view to marshal him in. But Lewis 
resisted violently ; ay, and shook and trembled like 
a girl. 

"I will not go into ArkelFs, sir,'' he panted. 
" You have no right to force me. I won't ! I 
won't !" 

He struggled on to his knees, and clasped a 
deep-seated stone in the Arkells' garden for sup- 
port. Mr. St. John, not releasing his collar, looked 
at him with amazement, and the troop of boys 
watched the scene over the iron railings. 

*^ Lewis, what is the meaning of this?" cried 
Mr. St. John. '^ You are panting like a coward ; 
and a guiltv one: What are you afraid of?" 



MILDRED ARKELL. 185 

" Fm afraid of nothing, but I won't go into 
ArkelPs. I don^t want to see him. Let me go, 
sir. Though you are Mr. St. John, thaVs no reason 
why you should set up for master over the college 
boys.^^ 

" I am master over you just now/'' was the sig- 
nificant answer. '^ Listen : I have promised Arkell 
to take you to him, and I will do it : you may 
have heard, possibly, that the St. Johns never 
break their word. But Arkell has sent for you in 
kindness : he appeared to expect this opposition, 
and bade me tell it you : he wants to clasp your 
hand in friendship before he dies. Walk on, 
Lewis.'"* 

"You are not master over us boys/' shrieked 
Lewis again, whose opposition had increased to 
sobs. 

But Mr. St. John proved his mastership. Partl}!^ 
by coaxing, partly by authoritative force, he con- 
ducted Mr. Lewis to the door of Henry's chamber. 
There Lewis seized his arm in abject terror; he had 
turned ghastly white, and his teeth chattered. 

"I cannot fathom this," said Mr. St. John, 
wondering much. " Have I not told you there is 
nothing to fear? What is it that you do fear?" 

" No ; but does he look very frightful ?" chat- 
tered Lewis. 

"What should make him look frio^htful? He 



186 MILDRED AEKELL. 

looks as he has always looked. Be off in ; and 1^11 
keep the door, if you want to talk secrets /■* 

Mr. St. John pushed him in, and closed the door 
upon them. Henry held out his hand, and. spoke 
a few hearty words of love and forgiveness ; and 
Lewis put his face down on the counterpane and 
began to howl. 

" Lewis, take comfort. It was done, I know, in 
the impulse of the moment, and you never thought 
it would hurt me seriously. I freely forgive you.^^ 

" Are you sure to die T^ sobbed Lewis. 

" I think I am. The doctors say so.^^ 

" 0-o-o-o-o-o-h \" howled Lewis ; " then I know 
you^ll come back and haunt me with being your 
murderer: Prattleton junior says you will. He 
saw it done, so he knows about it. I shall never 
be able to sleep at night, for fear.^"* 

" Now, Lewis, don^t be foolish. I shall be too 
happy where I am, to come back to earth. No one 
knows how it happened : you say Prattleton does, 
but he is your friend, and it is safe with him. Take 
comfort.^^ 

^' Some of us have been so wicked and malicious 
to you V blubbered Lewis. '^ I, and my brother, 
and Aultane, and a lot of them.^^ 

" It is all over now,^^ sighed Henry, closing his 
heavy eyes. " You would not, had you foreseen 
that I should leave you so soon.'''' 



MILDRED ARKELL. 187 

" Oh^ what a horrid wretch I have been V 
sobbed Lewis, rubbing his smeared face on the 
white bedclothes, in an agony. "And, if it^s 
found out, they might try me next assizes and 
hang me. And it is such a dreadful thing for you 
to die r 

" It is a liajjpy thing, Lewis; I feel it is, and 1 
have told the dean I feel it. Say good-bye to the 
fellows for me, Lewis ; I am too ill to see them. 
Tell them how sorry I am to leave them ; but we 
shall meet again in heaven.''^ 

Lewis grasped his offered hand, and, with a 
hasty, sheepish movement, leaned forward and 
kissed him on the cheek : then turned and burst 
out of the room, nearly upsetting Mr. St. John, 
and tore down the stairs. Mr. St. John entered 
the chamber. 

'^ Well, is the conference satisfactorily over V^ 

Again Henry reopened his heavy eyes. " Is that 
you, Mr. St. John?'' 

*^Yes, I am here.'' 

" The dean is coming here this evening at seven, 
for the sacrament. He said my not being con- 
firmed was no matter in a case like this. Will you 
come ?" 

" Henry, no," was the grave answer. " I am 
not good enough." 

'' Oh, Mr. St. John !" The ready tears filled his 



188 MILDRED ARKELL. 

eyes. " I wish you could '" he beseechingly whis- 
pered. 

"I wish so too. Are you distressed for me, 
Henry? Do not look upon me as a monster of 
iniquity : I did not mean to imply it. But I do 
not yet think sufficiently of serious things to be 
justified in partaking of that ordinance without 
preparation/' 

'^ It would have seemed like a bond of union be- 
tween us — a promise that you wall some time 
join me where I am going/' pleaded the dying 
boy. 

^' I hope I sliall: I trust I shall : I will not forget 
that you are there."' 

As Mr, St. John left the house, he made his way 
to the grounds, in a reflective mood : the cathedral 
bell was then ringing for afternoon service, and, 
somewhat to his surprise, he saw the dean hurrying 
from the college ; not to it. 

" I'm on my w^ay back to Arkell's ! I'm on my 
way back to Arkell's !" he exclaimed, in an im- 
petuous manner ; and forthwith he began recount- 
ing a history to Mr. St. John; a history of wrong, 
which filled him, the dean, with indignation. 

" I suspected something of the sort," was Mr. 
St. John's quiet answer ; and the dean strode on 
his way, and Mr. St. John stood looking after him, 
in painful thought. When the dean came out of 



MILDRED ARKELL. 189 

Mr. Peter ArkelPs again, he was too late for service 
that afternoon. Although he was in residence I 

Just in the unprepared and sudden manner that 
the news of Henry ArkelFs approaching death must 
have fallen upon my readers^ so did it fall upon the 
town. People could not believe it : his friends 
could not believe it : the doctors scarcely believed 
it. The day wore on ; and whether there may have 
lingered any hope in the morning, the evening 
closed it, for it brought additional agony to his 
injured head, and the most sanguine saw that he 
was dying. 

All things were prepared for the service, about to 
take place, and Henry lay flushed, feverish, and 
restless, lest he should become delirous ere the hour 
should arrive : he had become so rapidly worse since 
the forepart of the day. Precisely as the cathedral 
clock struck seven, the house door was thrown 
open, and the dean placed his foot on the threshold : 

" Peace be unto this house, and to all that 
davell within it i^' 

The dean was attended to the chamber, and there 
he commenced the office for the Visitation of the 
Sick, omitting part of the exhortation, but reading 
the prayer for a soul on the point of departure. 
Then he proceeded with the Communion. 

When the service was over, all, save Mrs. Arkell 
and the dean, quitted the room. Henry's mind 
was tranquil now. 



190 MILDRED ARKELL. 

" 1 will not forget your request/^ whispered tlie 
dean. 

" Near to the college door, as we enter/' was 
Henry's response. 

'^ It shall be done as you wish, my dear." 

''And, sir, you have promised to forgive them." 

" For your sake. You are suffering much just 
now/' added the dean, as he watched his counte- 
nance. 

•' It gets more intense with every hour. I can- 
not bear it much longer. Oh, I hope I shall not 
suffer beyond my strength !" he panted ; " I hope 
I shall be able to bear the agony !" 

**" Do not fear it. You know where to look for 
help/' whispered the dean ; " you cannot look in 
vain. Henry, my dear boy, I leave you in peace, 
do I not?" 

"Oh yes, sir, in perfect peace. Thank you 
greatly for all." 



MILDRED ARKELL. 191 



CHAPTER X. 

THE GRAVESTONE IN THE CLOISTEUS. 

It was the brightest day^ though March was not 
yet out_, the first warm, lovely day of spring. Men 
passed each other in the streets, with a congratula- 
tion that the winter weather had gone, and the 
college boj'S, penned up in their large schoolroom, 
gazed aloft through the high windows at the blue 
sky and the sunshine, and thought what a shame it 
was that they should be held prisoners on such a 
day, instead of galloping over the country at "Hare 
and Hounds/^ 

" Third Latin class w^alk up,^'' cried Mr. AYilber- 
force. 

The third Latin class walked up, and ranged 
itself in front of the master''s desk. " Who^s top 
of this class V asked he. 

"Me, sir,^^ replied the gentleman who owned 
that distinction. 

"Who's 'me,' sir?" 

"Me, sir/' 



19^ MILDRED ARKELL. 

" Who is ' me/ sir ?'' angrily repeated the 
master, his spectacles bearing full on his wondering 
pupil. 

'^Charles Yan Brummel, sir/^ returned that 
renowned scholar. 

"Then go down to the bottom for saying ^me.^^' 

Mr. Van Brummel went down, considerably 
chopfallen, and the master was proceeding to work, 
when the cathedral bell tolled out heavily, for a 
soul recently departed. 

"What^s that?^^ abruptly ejaculated the master. 

" It^s the college death-bell, sir,^^ called out the 
up class, simultaneously. Van Brummel excepted, 
who had not yet recovered his equanimity. 

" I hear what it is as well as you,^"* were all the 
thanks they got. "But what can it be tolling for? 
Nobody was ill.'^ 

"Nobody,^^ echoed the boys. 

" Can it be a member of the Royal Family ?" 
wondered the master — the bishop and the dean he 
knew were well. ''If not, it must be one of the 
canons." 

Of course it must ! for the college bell never 
condescended to toll for any of the profane vulgar. 
The Boyal Family, the bishop, dean, and preben- 
daries, were the only defunct lights, honoured by 
the notice of the passing-bell of Westerbury 
Cathedral. 



MILDRED AEKELL. 193 

"Lewis junior/'' said the master, "go into 
college, and ask the Ijedesmen who it is that is 
dead/^ 

Lewis junior clattered out. When he came back 
he walked very softly, and looked as white as a 
sheet. 

" Well ?"' cried Mr. Wiiberforce — for Lewis did 
not speak. 

" It's tolling for Henry Arkell, sir.^^ 

" Henry Arkell V uttered the master, " Is he 
really dead ? Are you ill, Lewis j unior ? What^s 
the matter?" 

" Nothing, sir." 

"But it is an entirely unprecedented proceeding for 
the cathedral bell to toll for a college boy," repeated 
Mr. Wiiberforce, revolving the news. "The old 
bedesmen must be making some mistake. Half of 
them are deaf, and the other half are stupid. I 
shall send to inquire : we must have no irregularity 
about these things. Lewis junior." 

" Yes, sir." 

"Lewis junior, you are ill, sir," repeated the 
master, sharply. " Don't say you are not. Sit 
down, sir." 

Lewis junior humbly sat down. He appeared to 
have the ague. 

" Van Brurnmel, you'll do," continued ]\Ir. Wii- 
berforce. " Go and inquire of the bedennien 

VOL. III. 13 



194 MILDKED AEKELL. 

Whether they have received orders ; and, if so_, from 
whom : and whether it is really Arkell that the 
bell is tolling for." 

Van Brummel opened the door and clattered 
down the stairs, as Lewis junior had done; and lie 
clattered back again. 

" The men say, sir, that the dean sent them the- 
orders by his servant. And they think Arkell i& 
to be buried in the cathedral." 

^^ In — deed !" was the master^s comment, in a 
tone of doubt. " Poor fellow !" he added, after a 
pause, " his has been a sudden and melanchol}^ end- 
ing. Boys, if you want to do well, you should 
imitate Henry Arkell. I can tell you that the best 
boy who ever trod these boards, as a foundation 
scholar, has now gone from among us." 

" Please, sir, I'm senior of the choir now," inter- 
posed Aultane junior, as if fearing the master 
might not sufficiently remember that important 
fact. 

^'' And a fine senior you'll make," scornfully re- 
torted !Mr. Wilberforce. 

It was Mr. St. John who had taken the news of 
his death to the dean, and the latter immediately 
sent to order the bell to be tolled. St. John left the 
deanery, and was passing through the cloisters on 
his way to Hall-street, when he saw in the distance 
Mrs. and Miss Beauclerc, just as the cathedral bell 



MILDPwED ARKELL. 195 

rang out. Mrs. Beauclerc was startled_, as the head 
master had been : her fears flew towards her aris- 
tocratic clergy friends. She tried the college door, 
and, finding it open, entered to make inquiries of 
the bedesmen. Georgina stopped to chatter to 
Mr. St. John. 

'' Fancy, if it should be old Ferraday gone off!" 
cried she. ^'^ Won't the boys crow? He has got 
the influenza, and was sitting by his study fire yes- 
terday in a flannel nightcap." 

" It is the death-bell for Henry Arkell, Geor- 
gina.'^ 

A vivid emotion dyed her face. She was vexed 
that it should be apparent to Mr. St. John, and 
w^ould have carried it off" under an assumption of 
indifference. 

" When did he die ? Did he suff'er much ?" 
'^ He died at a quarter j)ast eleven ; about twenty 
minutes ago. And he did not suffer so much at 
the last as was anticipated." 

" Well, poor fellow, I hope he is happy .^'' 
'' That he is,''-' warmly responded Mr. St. John. 
" He died in perfect peace. May you and I be as 
peaceful, Georgina, when our time shall come.^^ 
"What a blow it must be to ZMrs. Arkell V 
" I saw her as I came out of the house just now, 
and I could not help venturing on a word of en- 
treaty, that she would not grieve his loss too deeply. 

13—2 



196 MILDRED AEKKLL. 

She raised her beautiful eyes to me, and I cannot 
describe to you the light, the faith, that shone in 
them. ' Not lost,' she gently whispered, ' only gone 
before/" 

Georgina had kept her face turned from the view 
of Mr. St. John. She was gazing through her 
glistening eyes at the graveyard, which was en- 
closed by the cloisters. 

'^ What possesses the college bell to toll for 
him?" she exclaimed, carelessly, to cover her 
emotion. " I thought," she added, with a spice of 
satire in her tone, " that there was an old curfew 
law, or something as stringent, against its trou- 
bling itself for anybody less exalted than a sleek 
old prebendary." 

Mr. St. John saw through the artifice : he ap- 
proached her, and lowered his voice. ^' Georgina, 
he sent you his forgiveness for any un kindness that 
may have passed. He sent you his love : and he 
hopes you will sometimes recal him to your re- 
membrance, when you walk over his grave, as you 
2:0 into colleore." 

Surprise made her turn to Mr. St. John : but 
she wilfully ignored the first part of the sentence. 
" Over his grave I I do not understand." 

" He is to be buried in the cloisters, near to this 
entrance-door, near to where we are now standing. 
There appears to be a vacant space here," cried ^Ir. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 197 

St. John, looking down at his feet : '' I dare say it 
will be in this very spot." 

" By whose decision is he to be buried in the 
cloisters?^' quickly asked Georgina. 

" The dean^Sj of course. Henry craved it of 
him." 

^' I wonder papa did not tell me ! What a sin- 
gular fancy of Henry's !" 

"I do not think so. It was natural that he 
should wish his last resting-place to be amidst old 
associations^ amidst his old companions; and near 
to //on, Georgina." 

" There ! I knew what you were driving at," 
returned Georgina, in a pouting, wilful tone. 
*' You are ffoino^ to accuse me of breakino: his hearfc, 
or some such obsolete nonsense : I assure you I 



'' Stay, Georgina ; I do not care to hear this. 
I have delivered his message to you, and there let 
it end." 

*^ You are as stupid and fanciful as he was," re- 
torted Miss Beauclerc. 

" Not quite so stupid in one respect, for he was 
blind to your faults ; I am not. And never shall 
be," he added, in a tone of significance which 
caused the life-blood at Geor2f'ina''s heart to stand 
still. 

But she could not keep it up — the assumption 



198 MILDRED ARKELL. 

of indifference,, the apparent levity. The death 
was telling upon her, and she burst into hj^sterical 
tears. At that moment, Lewis junior passed them, 
and swung in at the cathedral door, on the master^s 
errand, meeting Mrs. Beauclerc, who was coming 
out. 

" Tell mamma Pm gone home/^ whispered Geor- 
gina to Mr. St. John, as she disappeared in the 
opposite direction. 

'"Arkell is dead, ]\Ir. St. John,'' observed Mrs. 
Beauclerc. " The bell is tolling for him. I wonder 
the dean ordered the bell to toll for Jiim : it will 
cause quite a commotion in the city to hear the 
college death-bell." 

" He is to be buried here, in the cloisters, Mrs. 
Beauclerc" 

" Really ! Will the dean allow it ?' 

'^ The dean has decided it.'' 

" Oh, indeed. I never understand half the dean 
does." 

" So your companion is gone, Lewis junior," 
observed ]Mr. St. John, as the boy came stealing 
out of the college with his information. But 
Lewis never answered : and though he touched his 
forehead (he had no cap on) to the dean's wife, he 
never raised his eyes ; but sneaked on, with his 
ghastly face, and his head bent down. 

Those of the college boys who wished it went to 



MILDRED ARKELL. 199 

see him in his coffin. Georgina Beauclerc also 
went. She told the dean, in a straightforward 
manner, that she should like to see Henry Arkell 
now he lay dead ; and the dean saw no reason for 
refusing. The death had sobered Miss Beauclerc ; 
but ^vhatever feeling of remorse she might be 
conscious of, was hidden within her. 

^' You will not be frightened, I suppose, 
Georgina?" said the dean, in some indecision. 
'^ Did you ever see anybody dead ?^' 

" I saw that old gardener of ours that died at 
the rectory, papa. I was frightened at him; a 
frightful old yellow scarecrow he looked. Henry 
Arkell won't look like that. Papa, I wish those 
wicked college boys who were his enemies could be 
hung V 

" Do you, Georgina V gravely returned the 
dean. " He did not wish it; he forgave and 
prayed for them.^^ 

" They were so very '' 

She could not finish the sentence. The refer- 
ence to the schoolboys brought too vividly the past 
before her, and she rushed away to her own room, 
bursting with the tears she had to suppress until 
she got there. 

It seemed that her whole heart must burst with 
grief, too, as she stood in the presence of the corpse. 
She had asked St. John to go with her ; and the 



200 MILDRED AEKELL. 

two were alone in the room. Save for the ashy 
paleness, Henry looked just as beautiful as he had 
been in life : the marble lids were closed over the 
brilliant eyes, never to open again in this life ; the 
once warm hands lay cold and useless now. Some 
one — perhaps his mother — had placed in one of the 
hands a sprig of pink hyacinth; some was also 
strewed on the breast of the flannel shroud. The 
perfume came alLpowerfully to their senses ; and 
never afterwards did Georgina Beauclerc come near 
the scent of that flower, death-like enough in 
itself, but it brought ail-forcibly to her memory the 
death-chamber of Henry Arkell. 

She stood, leaning over the side of the coffin, 
sobbing painfully. The trestles were very low, so 
that it was much beneath her as she stood. St. 
John stood opposite, still and calm. 

" He loved you very much, Georgina — as few 
can love in this world. You best know how you 
requited him.^'' 

Perhaps it was a harsh word to say in the midst 
of her grief; but St. John could not forgive her 
for the past, whatever Henry had done. She bent 
her brow do\vn on the coffin, and sobbed wildly. , 

" Still, you made the sunshine of his life. He 
would have lived it over again, if he could, because 
you had been in it. You had become part of his 
very being; his wdiole heart was bound up in you. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 201 

Better, therefore, that he should be lying there, 
than have lived on to the future, to the pain that 
it must, of necessity, have brought.^^ 

" Don^t !" she wailed, amid her choking sobs. 

Not another word was spoken. When she grew 
calm, Mr. St. John quitted the room to descend — 
for she motioned to him to pass out first. Then — 
alone — she bent down her lips to the face that 
could no longer respond ; and she felt, in the mo- 
ment's emotion, as if her heart must break. 

" Oh ! Henry — my darling ! I was very cruel to 
you ! Forgive — forgive me ! But I did love you 
— though not as I love him.^^ 

Mr. St. John was waiting for her below, on the 
landing, near the drawing-room door. ^^ You must 
pardon the family for not receiving you, Georgina. 
Mrs. Arkell mentioned it to me this morning; but 
they are overwhelmed with grief. It has been so 
unexpected, you see. Lucy is the worst. Mrs. 
Arkell'^ — he compelled his voice to a lower whisper 
— " has an idea that she will not be long behind 
him.'' 

The buriaj day of Henry Arkell arrived. The 
dean had commanded a holiday from study, and 
that the king's scholars should attend the funeral. 
Just before the hour appointed for it, half-past 
eleven, some of them took up their station in the 
cloisters, in silent order, waiting to join the proces- 



202 :mildred ark ell. 

sion when it should come, a bow of black crape 
beino- attached to the left shoulder of their sur- 
plices. Sixteen of the king's scholars had gone 
down to the house, as they were appointed to do. 
Mrs. Beauclerc, her daughter, and the families of 
the prebendaries were already in the cathedral; 
with some other spectators, who had got in under 
the pretext of attending morning prayers, and who, 
when the prayers were over, had refused to quit 
their seats again : of course the sextons could not 
decently turn them out. Half a dozen ladies took 
up their station in the organ-loft, to the inward 
wrath of the organist, who, however, had to submit 
to the invasion with suavity, for one of them was 
the dean's daughter. It was the best viewing 
place, commanding full sight of the cathedral body 
and the nave on one side, and of the choir on the 
other. The bell tolled at intervals, sending its 
■deep, gloomy boom over the town ; and the spec- 
tators patiently waited. At length the first slow 
and solemn note of the organ was sounded, and 
Georgina Beauclerc shrank into a corner, contriving 
to see, and yet not be seen. 

From the small door, never used but upon the 
rare occasion of a funeral, at the extremity of the 
long body of the cathedral, the procession advanced 
at last. It was headed by the choristers, two and 
two, the lay clerks, and the masters of the college 



MILDKED AEKELL. 203 

school. The clean and one of the canons walked 
next before the coffin, which was borne by eight of 
the king^s scholars, and the pall by eight more. 
Four mourners followed the coffin — Peter Arkell, 
his cousin WiUiam, Travice, and Mr. St. John; 
and the long line was brought up by the remainder 
of the king's scholars. So slow was their advance, 
as to be almost imperceptible to the spectators, the 
choir sino^ino; : 

"I am the resurrection and the life,. saith the 
Lord : he that believeth in me, though he were 
dead, yet shall he live : and whosoever liveth and 
believeth in me shall never die. 

" 1 know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he 
shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And 
though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet 
in my flesh shall I see God ; whom I shall see for 
myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not 
another." 

The last time those words were sung in that 
cathedral, but some three weeks past, it was by him 
over whom they w^ere now being sung; the thought 
flashed upon many a mind. At length the choir 
was reached, and the coffin placed on the trestles ; 
Georgina Beauclerc's eyes — she had now come 
round to the front of the organ — being blinded 
with tears as she looked down upon it. Mr. St. 
John glanced up, from his place by the coffin, and 



20-1 MILDRED ARKELL. 

saw her. Both the psalms were sung, and the clean 
himself read the lessons ; and it may as well be 
here remarked, that at afternoon service the dean 
desired that Luther^s hymn should be sung in place 
of the usual anthem ; some association with the last 
evening Henry had spent at his house no doubt 
inducing it. 

The procession took its way back to the cloisters^ 
to the grave, Mr. Wilberforce officiating. The 
spectators followed in the wake. As the coffin was 
lowered to its final resting-place — earth to earth, 
ashes to ashes, dust to dust — the boys bowed their 
heads upon their clasped hands, and some of them 
sobbed audibly ; they felt all the worth of Henry 
Arkell now that he was o-one. The fjrave was made 
close to the cloister entrance to the cathedral, in 
the spot where had stood ]\Ir. St. John and 
Georgina Beuclerc ; where had once stood Georgina 
and Henry Arkell, the day that wretched Lewis 
had wished him buried there. An awful sort of 
feeling was upon Lewis now, as he remembered it. 

A few minutes, and it was over. The dean 
turned into the chapter-house, the mourners moved 
jiway, and the old bedesmen, in their black gowns, 
began to shovel in the earth upon the coffin. Mr. 
Wilberforce, before moving, put up his finger to 
Aultane, and the latter advanced. 

"You choristers are not to <xo back to the 



MILDEED ARKELL. 205 

vestry now, but to come into the hall in your 
surplices." 

Aultane wondered at the order, but communi- 
cated it to those under him. When they entered 
the college hall, they found the king's scholars 
ranged in a semicircle, and they fell in with them 
according to their respective places in the school. 
The boys' white surplices and the bows of crape 
presenting a curious contrast. 

'' What are we stuck out like this for V whis- 
pered one to the other. ^^ For show? What does 
Wilberforce want? He's sitting still, as if he 
waited for somebody." 

" Be blest if I know," said Lewis junior, whose 
teeth were chattering. ^^ Unless it is to wind up 
with a funeral lecture." 

However, they soon did know. The dean entered 
the hall, wearing his surplice, and carrying his offi- 
cial four-cornered cap. Mr. Wilberforce rose to 
bow the dean into his own seat, but the dean pre- 
ferred to stand. He looked steadily at the circle 
before he spoke ; sternly, some of them thought ; 
and they did not feel altogether at ease. 

'' Boys I" began the dean. And there he stopped ; 
and the boys lifted their heads to listen to what 
mi^-ht be comino^. 

'' Boys, our doings in this world bear a bias 
generally to good or to evil, and they bring their 



206 MILDRED ARKELL. 

consequences with tliem. Well-doing brings con- 
tentment and inward satisfaction ; but ill-doing as 
certainly brings its day of retribution. The present 
day must be one of retribution to some of you, 
unless you are so hardened in wickedness as to be 
callous to conscience. How have "" 

The dean was interrupted by the entrance of Mr. 
St. John and Traviee Arkell. They took off their 
hats; and their streaming hatbands swept the 
ground, as they advanced and stood by the dean. 

'' Boys," he resumed, '' how have you treated 
Henry Arkell ? I do not speak to all ; I speak to 
some. Lewis senior, does your conscience prick 
you for having fastened him in St. Jameses Church, 
in the dark and lonely night ? Aultane junior, does 
yours sting you for your insubordination to him on 
Assize Sunday, w^ien you exposed yourself so dis- 
gracefully to two of the judges of the land, and for 
your malicious accusation of him to Miss Beauclerc, 
followed by your pitiful complaint to me? Prat- 
tleton, have you, as senior of the school, winked at 
the cabal against him T' 

The three boys hung their heads and their red 
ears : to jiidge by their looks, their consciences were 
pricking them very sharply. 

^^ Lewis junior," resumed the dean, in a sudden 
manner, ^' of what does your conscience accuse 
you?" 



MlLDllED ARKELL. 207 

Lewis junior turned sick^ and his hair stood on 
end. He could not have replied^ had it been to 
save him from hanging. 

'^ Do you know that you are the cause of Henry 
ArkelPs death ?'' continued the dean^ in a low 
but distinct aceent_, which penetrated the room. 
'^ And that you mighty in justice^ be taken up as a 
murderer ?" 

Lewis junior burst into a dismal howl^ and fell 
down on his knees and face_, burying his forehead 
on the ground^ and sticking up his surpliced back ; 
something after the manner of an ostrich. 

" It was the fall in the choir on Assize Sunday 
that killed Henry Arkell/^ said the dean^ looking 
round the hall ; '' that is_, he has died from the 
effects of the fall. You gentlemen are aware of 
it, I believe?" 

'' Certainly they are, Mr. Dean/^ said the head 
master_, wondering on his own account, and an- 
swering the dean because the "gentlemen^' did 
not. 

" He was thrown down," resumed the dean ; 
" wilfully thrown down. And that is the one who 
did it," pointing with his finger at Lewis junior. 

Two or three of the boys had been cognisant of 
the fact, as might be seen from their scarlet foces ; 
the rest wore a look of timid curiosity; while lSh\ 
Wilberforce's amazed spectacles wandered from 



208 MILDRED ARKELL. 

the dean^s finger to the prostrate and howling 
Lewis. 

*^Yes/^ said the dean^ answ^ering the various 
looks, "the author of Henry Arkell's death is 
Lewis junior. You had better get up, sir.^^ 

Lewis junior remained where he was, shaking 
his back as if it had been a feather-bed, and emit- 
ting the most extraordinary groans. 
" Get up,^^ cried the dean, sternly. 
There was no disobeying the tone, and Lewis 
raised himself. A pretty object he looked, for the 
dye from his new black gloves had been washed on 
to his face. 

" He told me he forgave me the day before he 
died; he said he had never told any one, and 
never would,''^ howled Lew4s. " I didn''t mean to 
hurt him.^^ 

" He never did tell," replied the dean : " he 

hove his injuries, bore them without retaliation. Is 

there another boy in the school who would do that?" 

"No, that there is not," put in Mr. Wil- 

berforce. 

"When you locked him in the church, Lewis 
senior, did he inform against you? When you 
came to me with your cruel accusation, Aultane, 
did he revenge himself by telling me of a far worse 
misdemeanour, which you had been guilty of? 
Did he ever inform against any who injured him? 



jViildred arkell. 209 

No; insults^ annoyances, he bore all in silence, 
because he would not bring trouble and punish- 
ment upon you. He was a noble boy," warmly 
continued the dean : '' and, what's more, he was 
a Christian one." 

" He said he would not tell of me," choked 
Lewis junior, " and now he has gone and done it. 
0-o-o-o-o-o-h !" 

^' He never told," quietly repeated the dearu 
'' During the last afternoon of his life, it came to 
my knowledge, subsequent to an interview^ I had 
had with him, that Lewis junior had wilfully 
thrown him down, and I went back to Arkell and 
taxed him with its being the fact. He could not 
deny it, but the whole burden of his admission 
was, ^ Oh, sir, forgive him ! do not punish him ! 
I am dying, and I pray you to forgive him for my 
sake ! Forgive them all !' Do you think you de- 
serve such clemency?" asked the dean, in an 
altered tone. 

Lewis only howled the louder. 

" On his part, I offer you all his full and free 
forgiveness : Lewis junior, do you hear ? his full 
and free forgiveness. And I believe you have also 
that of his parents." The dean looked at Travice 
Arkell, and waited for him to speak. 

" A few hours only before Henry died, it came 
to Mr. Peter ArkelFs knowledge " 

VOL. III. 14 



210 MILDRED AEKELL. 

. "I informed him/^ interrupted the deao. 

" Yes/' resumed Traviee. " The dean informed 
Mr. Arkell that Henry's fall had not been acci- 
dental. But — as he had prayed the dean, so he 
prayed his father, to forgive the culprit. Lewis 
junior, I am here on the part of Mr. Arkell to 
offer his forgiveness to you." 

"I wish I could as easily accord mine/' said 
the dean. '^'^No punishment will be inflicted on 
you, Lewis junior : not because no punishment, 
that I or Mr. Wilberforce could command, is ade- 
quate to the crime, but that his dying request, for 
your pardon, shall be complied with. If you have 
any conscience at all, his fate will lie upon it for 
the remainder of your life, and you wnll bear its 
remembrance about with you." 

Lewis bent down his head on the shoulder near- 
est to him, and his howls changed into sobs. 

" One word more, boys/' said the dean. " I 
have observed that not one in the whole school— 
at least such is my belief — would be capable of 
acting as Henry Arkell did, in returning good for 
evil. The ruling principle of his life, and he strove 
to carry it out in little things as in great, -was to 
do as he would be done by. Now what could have 
made him so different from you ?" 

The dean obtained no reply. 

^' I v/ill tell you. He loved and feared God. He 



]yWLDRED ARKELL. 211 

lived always as though God were near him, watch- 
ing over his words and his actions ; he took God 
for his guide, and strove to do His will: and now 
God has taken him to his reward. Do you know 
that his death was a remarkably peaceful one? 
Yes, I think you have heard so. Holy living, 
boys, makes holy dying; and it made his dying 
holy and peaceful. Allow me to ask, if you, wdio 
are selfish and wicked and malignant, could meet 
death so calmly ?^^ 

" ArkelFs mother is often so ill, sir, that she 
doesn^t know she'll live from one day to another," 
a senior ventured to remark in the general de- 
speration. " Of course that makes her learn 
to try not to fear death, and she taught him 
not to.'' 

'^ And she now finds her recompense," observed 
the dean. " A happy thing for you, if your mo- 
thers had so taught you. Dismiss the school, Mr, 
Wilberforce. And I hope," he added, turning 
round to the boys, as he and the other two gentle- 
men left the hall, 'Hhat you will, every one, go 
home, not to riot on this solemn holiday, but to 
meditate on these important thoughts, and resolve 
to endeavour to become more like Henry Arkell. 
You will attend service this afternoon." 

And that was the ending. And the boy, with 
his talents, his beauty, and his goodness, was 

11—2 



c 



212 



MILDRED ARKE]?L, 



gone ; and nothing of liim remained but what was 
moulderino^ under the cloister gravestone. 



Henry Cheveley Aekell. 
Died March 24tli, 18—, 

Aged 16. 
Not lost, but gone before. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 213 



CHAPTER XI. 



THOUGHTLESS T^'ORDS. 



This is the last part of our history, and you must 
be prepared for changes, although but little 
time — not very much more than a year — Jias 
gone by. 

Death has been busy during that period. Mrs. 
Peter Arkell survived her son so short a time, that it 
is already twelve months since she was laid in the 
churchyard of St. James the Less. It is a twelve- 
month also since Mr. Fauntleroy died, and his 
daughters are the great heiresses of Westerbury. 

Westerbury had need of heiresses, or something 
else substantial, to keep up its consequence ; for it 
was dwindling down lower (speaking of its com- 
mercial importance) day by day. The clerical 
party (in contradistinction to the commercial) rose 
and flourished ; the other fell. 

Amidst those with whom it was beginning to 
be a struggle to keep their heads above water was 
Mr. Arkell. The hope that times would mend; a 



214 MILDRED AEKELL. 

hope that had buoyed up for years and years other 
large manufacturers in Westerhury, was beginnings 
to show itself what it really was — a delusive one. 
A deplorable gloom hung over the brow of JMr. 
ArkeU^ and he most bitterly repented that he had 
not thrown this hope to the winds long ago, and 
given up business before so much of his good 
property was sacrificed. He had in the past year 
made those retrenchments in his expenditure, 
which, in point of prudence, ought to have been 
made before ; but his wife had set her face deter- 
minately against it, and to a peaceable- dispositioned 
man like Mr. Arkell, the letting the ruin come is 
almost preferable to the contention the change 
involves. Those of my readers who may have had 
experience of this, will know that I only state 
w^hat is true. But necessity has no law : and 
when Mr. Arkell could no longer drain himself 
to meet these superfluous expenses, the change was 
made. The close carriage was laid down ; the 
household was reduced to what it had been in his 
father's time — two maids, and a man for the horse 
and garden, and he admonished his wife and 
daughters that they must spend in dress just half 
what they had spent. But with all the retrench- 
ment, Mr. Arkell saw himself slowly drifting 
downwards. His manufactory was still kept on ; 
but it had been far better given up. It must 



MILDRED ARKELL. 215 

surely come to it, and Travice would have to seek 
a different channel of obtainins^ a livino^. Not 
only Travice : the men who had grown old in 
William ArkelFs service, they must be turned 
adrift. There's not the least doubt that this last 
thought helped, more than all else, to keep Mr. 
ArkelPs decision on the balance. 

And Peter Arkell ? Peter was in worse plight 
than his cousin. As it had been all their lives, the 
contrast in their fortunes marked, so it was still ; 
so it would be to the end. William still lived well, 
and as a gentleman ; he had but lopped off super- 
fluities ; Peter was a poor, bowed, broken man, 
obliged to be careful how he laid out money for 
even the common necessaries of life. But for 
Mildred's never-ceasing forethought, those .'ne- 
cessaries might not always have been bought. The 
death of his wife, the death of his gifted son, had 
told seriously upon Peter Arkell : and his health, 
never too good, had since been ominously breaking 
up. 

His good and gentle daughter, Lucy, had care 
upon her in many ways. The little petty household 
economies it was necessary to practise unceasingly, 
wearied her spirit ; the uncertainty of how they 
were to live, now that her father could no longer 
teach or write — and his learned books had brough 
him in a trifle from time to time — chilled her hope 



216 MILDRED ARKELL. 

Not yet had she recovered the shock, the terrible 
heart-blow brought to her by the death of Henry ; 
and her mother's death had followed close upon it. 
It seemed to have cast a blight upon her young 
spirit : and there were times when Lucy, good and 
trusting girl though she was, felt tempted to think 
that God was making her path one of needless 
sorrow. The sad, thoughtful look w^as ever in her 
countenance now, in her sw^eet brown eyes ; and 
her fair features, not strictly beautiful, but pleasant 
to look upon, grew more like what Mildred's were 
after the blight had fallen upon her. But no 
heart-blight had as yet come to Lucy. 

One evening an old and confidential friend of 
Peter Arkell's dropped in to sit an hour with him. 
It was Mr. Palmer, the manager and cashier of the 
Westerbury bank, and the brother to Mr. Palmer 
of Heath Hall. As the two friends talked con- 
fidentially on this evening, deploring the com- 
mercial state of the city, and saying that it would 
never rise again from its distress, Mr. Palmer 
dropped a hint that the firm of George Arkell and 
Son had been efiectins;: another mortoj-ao^e on their 
property. Mr. Peter Arkell said nothing then ; 
but Lucy, who went into the room on the de- 
partm-e of their guest, noticed that he remained 
sunk in melancholy silence; and she could not 
arouse him from it. 



]\1ILDRED ARKELL. 217 

Travice Arkell came in. Travice was in the 
habit of comino: in a s^reat deal more than one of 
the ruling powers at home had any idea of. 
Travice would very much have liked to make 
Lucy his wife ; but there were serious impediments 
in more ways than one, and he was condemned to 
silence, and to wait and see what an uncertain 
future mioj-ht bring: forth. 

The romance that had been enacted in the early 
days of "William Arkell and Mildred was being 
re-enacted now\ But with a difference. For 
whereas William, as you have seen, forsook the 
companion of his boyhood, and cast his love upon 
a stranger, Travice's whole hopes were concen- 
trated upon Lucy. And Lucy loved him with all 
the impassioned ideality of a first and pov/erful 
passion, with all the fervour of an imaginative and 
reticent nature. It was impossible but that each 
should detect, in a degree, the feelings of the 
other, though they might not be, and had not 
been, spoken of openly. 

Travice reached the chess-board from a side- 
table where it was kept, took his seat opposite 
Peter, and began to set out the men. Of the 
same kind, considerate nature that his father was 
before him, he compassionated the lonely man^s 
solitary days, and was wont to play a game at 
chess with him sometimes in an evening, to while 



218 MILDRED ARKELL. 

away ooe of his weaiy liours. But Peter, on tliis 
nightv, put up his hand in token of refusal. 

" Not this evening, Travice. I am not equal to 
it. My spirits are low.'' 

" Do you feel ill ?" asked Travice, beginning to 
put the pieces in the box again. 

" I feel low ; out of sorts. Mr. Palmer has been 
here talking of things, and he gives so deplorable a 
state of private affairs generally, consequent upon 
the long-continued commercial depression, that it's 
hard to say who's safe and whose tottering. He 
has especial means of ascertaining, you know, so 
there's no doubt he's right." 

" Well, what of that?'' returned Travice. '' It 
cannot affect you ; you are not in business." 

" True. I was not thinking of myself." 

" A game at chess will divert your thoughts." 

'^ Not to-night, Travice ; I'd rather not play to- 
night." 

" Will you have a game, Lucy ?" 

She looked up from her sewing to smile a nega- 
tive. " That would be leaving papa quite to his 
thoughts. I think we had better talk to him." 

" Travice," Peter Arkell suddenly said, '' I am 
sure this depression must seriously affect your 
father." 

" Of course it does," was the ready answer. " He 
has just now had to borrow more money again." 



MILDRED ARKELL. 219 

" Then Palmer was right/' thought Peter Arkell. 
*^ Will he keep on the business ?^^ he asked aloud. 

'^ I should not^ were I in his place/^ said Travice. 
'^ He would have given up long ago^ I believe, but 
for thinking what's to become of me. Of course 
if he does give up, I am thrown on the world, a 
\vandering Arab." 

His tone was as much one of jest as of gravity. 
The young do not see things in the same light as 
the old. To his father and to Peter Arkell, his 
being thrown out of the business he had embraced 
as his own, appeared an almost irrecoverable blight 
in life; to Travice himself it seemed but a very 
slight misfortune. The world was before him, and 
he had honour, education, health, and brains ; 
surely he could win his way in it ! 

"It is not well to throw down one calling and 
take up inother,'' observed Peter, thoughtfully. 
'' It does not ahvays answer.'^ 

" But if you are forced to it V' argued Travice. 
" There's no help for it then, and you must do the 
best you can.^^ 

" It is a pity but you had gone to Oxford, 
Travice, and entered into some profession !" 

" I suppose it is, as things seem to be turning 
out. Thrown out of the manufactory, I should 
seem a sort of luckless adventurer, not knowing 
which way to turn to prey upon the public." 



220 MILDKED ARKELL. 

'^ It would be just beginning life again/' said 
Peter^ his grave tone bearing in it a sound of 
reproach to the lighter one. 

He rose, and went to the next room — the 
"Peter's study'' of the old days— to get something 
from his desk there. Travice happened to look at 
Lucy, and saw her eyes fixed upon him with a 
troubled, earnest expression. She blushed as he 
caught their gaze. 

" What's the matter, Lucy?" 

"I was wondering whatever you would do, il 
Mr. Arkell does give up.'' 

" I think I should be rather o'lad of it. I could 
turn astronomer." 

'^ Turn astronomer ! But you don't really mean 
that, Travice?" 

He laughed. 

" I should mean it, but for one thins-." 

" What is that one thing?" 

" That it might not find me in bread and cheese. 
Perhaps they'd make me honorary star-gazer at 
the observatory royal. The worst is, one must eat 
and drink; and the essentials necessary for that 
don't drop from the clouds, as the manna once 
did of old. Very convenient for some of us if it 
did." 

^' I wish you'd be serious," she rejoined, the 
momentary tears rising to her eyes. She was feel- 



MILDRED AIUvP:LL. 2il 

ing- wretchedly troubled, slie could not tell why, 
and his light mood jarred upon her. 

It changed now as he looked at her. Travice 
ArkelFs face changed to an expression of deep, 
grave meaning, of troubled meaning, and he 
dropped his voice to a low tone as he rose and 
stood near Lucy, looking down upon her. 

" I wish I could be serious ; I have wished it, 
Lucy, this long while past. Other men at my age 
are thinking of forming those social ties that man 
naturall}^ expects to form ; of gathering about him 
a home, and a wife, and children. I must not; 
for what I can see at present, they must be denied 

to me for good and all ; unless — unless '' 

He broke off abruptly. Lucy, suppressing the 
emotion that had arisen, glanced up at him, as she 
waited for the conclusion. But the conclusion did 
not come. 

" You see now, Lucy, why I cannot be serious. 
Perhaps you have seen why before. In the un- 
certain state that our business is, not knowino" but 

the end of it may be bankruptcy '^ 

" Oh, Travice V she involuntarily exclaimed, in 
the shock that the word brought to her. 

'' I do assure you it has crossed my mind now 
and then, that such may be the final ending. It 
would break my father^s heart, I know, and it 
would half break mine for his sake ; but others in 



222 MILDRED ARKELL. 

the town have succumbed^ who were once nearly as 
rich as we were, and the fate may overtake us. I 
wish I could be serious ; serious to a purpose ; but 
I cannot/^ 

" I wanted to show you a prospectus, Travice, 
that was left here to-day/" interrupted Peter 
Arkell, coming back to the room. ^^I wonder 
what next they^ll be gettino^ up a company over ? 
I put it into my desk, but I can^t find it. Lucy, 
look about for it, will you?"" 

She got up to obey, and Travice caught a sight 
of the raised face, whose blushes had been 
hidden from him ; blushes called forth by his words 
and their implied meaning. She had understood 
it. 

But she had not understood the sentence at 
whose conclusion Travice Arkell had broken dov/n. 
" That the ties of wife and children must be denied 
to him for good and all, unless "" 

Unless what ? Unless he let them sacrifice him, 
would be the real answer. Unless he sacrificed 
himself, his dearest hopes, every better feeling that 
his heart possessed, at a golden shrine. But 
Travice Arkell would have a desperate fight first. 

The Miss Fauntleroys, co-heiresses of the wealthy 
old lawyer — who might have died worth more but 
for his ow^n entanglements in early life — had be- 
come intimate and more intimate at the house of 



MILDRED ARKELL. 223 

William Ark ell. Ten thousand pounds were settled 
on each, and there was other money to divide be- 
tween them_, which was not settled. How Lawyer 
Fauntleroy had scraped together so much, "Wester- 
bury could not imagine, considering he had been 
so hampered with old claims. Strapping, vulgar, 
good-humoured damsels, these two, as you have 
before heard ; with as little refinement in looks, 
words, and manner as their father had possessed 
before them. Their intimacy had grown, I say, 
with the Arkell family. Mrs. Arkell courted them 
to her house; the young ladies were quite eager to 
frequent it without courting ; and it had come 
to be whispered all over the gossiping town, that 
Mr. ArkelPs son and heir might have either of 
them for the asking. 

Perhaps not quite true this, as to the " either,^-' 
perhaps yes. It was indisputable that both liked 
him very much ; but any hope the younger might 
have felt disposed to cherish had long been merged 
in the more recognised claim to him of the elder ; 
recognised by the young ladies only, mind you, in 
the right, it may be, of her seniorship. iS'othing 
in the world could have been more satisfactory to 
Mrs. Arkell than this union. She overlooked their 
want of refinement, and their many other wants of 
a similar nature — of refinement, indeed, she may 
have deemed that Travice possessed enough for 



224 MILDRED ARK ELL. 

himself and for a wife too — she thought of the 
golden hoard in the bank^ the firm securities in 
the three per cent consols, and she pertinaciously 
cherished the hope and the resolve that Barbara 
Fauntleroy should become Barbara Arkell. 

It is well to say " pertinaciously /■' ThatTravice 
had set his resolve against it, she tacitly under- 
stood ; and once when she went so far as to put 
her project before him in a cautious hint, Travice 
had broken out with the ungallant assertion that 
he would "as soon marry the deuce/' But he 
might have to give in at last. The constant drop- 
ping of water on a stone will wear it away; and 
the constant, unceasing tongue of a woman has 
been known to break the iron walls of man's will. 

Another suitor had recently sprung up for Miss 
Lizzie Fauntleroy. No less a personage than Ben- 
jamin Carr. The reappearance of Mr. Dundyke 
upon the scene of the living world had consider- 
ably astonished many people; possibly, amidst 
others, Ben Carr himself. In the great relief it 
brought to the mind of Mr. Arkell, distorted, you 
may remember, with a certain unpleasant doubt, 
he almost forgot to suspect him at all; and he 
buried the past in silence, and in a measure, took 
luckless Ben into favour again ; that is, he did not 
forbid him his house. 

Ben, in fact, had come out apparently flourishing 



MILDRED ARKELL. 225 

from all past escapades suspected and unsuspected, 
and was residing with his father, and dressing like 
a gentleman. No more was heard of his wish to 
go abroad. Squire Carr had made him a half 
promise to put him into a farm ; and while Ben 
waited for this, he paid court to Lizzie Fauntleroy. 
At first she laughed in his face for an old fool, next 
she began to giggle at his soft speeches, and now 
she listened to him. Ben Carr had some attraction 
yet, in spite of his four-and-forty years. 

In the course of the following morning, Peter 
Arkell suddenly anounced his intention of going 
out, to the great surprise of Lucy. It was a most 
unfit day, rainy, and bleak for the season ; and he 
had not stepped over the threshold for weeks and 
weeks. 

" Papa ! You cannot go out to-day. It is not 
fit for you.^^ 

" Yes, I shall go. I want particularly to speak 
to my cousin William : you can help me thither 
with your arm, Lucy. Get my old cloak down, 
and air it at the fire ; I can wrap myself in that/' 

Lucy ventured no further remonstrance. When 
her papa took a thing into his head, there was no 
turning him. 

They started together through the bad weather 
to the house of William Arkell. The dear old 
house ! where Peter had spent so many pleasant 

VOL. III. 15 



^26 MILDRED AFvKELL. 

evenings in his youthful days. He crossed the 
yard at once to the manufactory, telling Lucy to 
go indoors and wait for him. William Arkell was 
alone in his private room, and was not a little 
surprised at the visit. 

"Why Peter!" he exclaimed, rising from his 
desk, and placing an arm-chair by the fire, ^' What 
has brought you out such a day as this? Sit 
down." 

Before Peter did so, he closed the door, so that 
they should be quite alone. He then turned and 
clasped his cousin by the hand. 

" William," he began, emotion mingling with 
his utterance," I have come to you, a poor unhappy 
man. Conscious of my want of power to do what 
I ought — fearing that there is less chance of my 
doing it, day by day." 

" What do you mean ?" inquired Mr. Arkell. 

"Amidst the ruin that has almost universally 
fallen on the city, you have not escaped, I fear 
your property is being seriously drawn upon ?" 

" And, unless things mend, it will soon be drawn 
to an end, Peter." 

" Heaven help me !" exclaimed Peter. " And to 
know that I am in your debt, and cannot liquidate 
it ! It is to speak of this, . that I am come out 
to-day." 

"Nay, now you are foolish!" exclaimed Mr. 



MILDRED AIJKELL. 2.^7 

Arkell. " What matters a hundred pounds or two, 
more or less, to me? The sum would cut but a 
poor figure by the side of what I am now habi- 
tuated to losing-. Never think of it, Peter : I never 
«hall. Besides, you had it from me in driblets, so 
that I did not miss it/' 

" When I had used to come to you for assistance 
in my illnesses, for I was ashamed to draw too much 
upon Mildred," proceeded the poor man, " I never 
thought but that I should, in time, regain per- 
manent strength, and be able to return it. I never 
meant to cheat you, William. '^ 

" Don't talk like that, Peter !" interrupted Mr. 
Arkell. " If the money were returned to me now, 
it would only go the way that the rest is going. I 
have always felt glad that it was in my power to 
render you assistance in your necessities : and if I 
stood this moment without a shilling to turn to, I 
should not regret it any more than I do now.'' 

They continued in converse, but we need not 
follow it. Lucy meanwhile had entered the house, 
and went about, looking for some signs of its 
inhabitants. The general sitting-room was empty, 
and she crossed the hall and opened the door of 
the drawing-room. A bouncing lady in fine attire 
was coming forth from it, talking and laughing 
loudly with ^Mr. Arkell; it was Barbara Fauntleroy. 

Shaking hands with Lucy in her good-humoured 

15—2 



228 MILDRED ARKELL. 

manner as she passed her_, she talked and laughed 
her way out of the house. Lucy was in black silk 
and crape still ; Miss Fauntleroy was in the gayest 
of colours ; and Mrs. Peter Arkell had been dead 
longer than Mr. Fauntleroy. They had worn their 
black a twelvemonth and then quitted it. It was 
not fashionable to wear mourning long now^ said 
the Miss Fauntleroy s. 

Charlotte Arkell, with scant ceremony, sat down 
to the piano, giving Lucy only a nod. Nothing 
could exceed the slighting contempt in which she 
and her sister held Lucy. They had been trained 
in it. And they were highly accomplished young 
ladies besides, had learnt everything there was to 
be taught, from the harp and oriental tinting, 
down to Spanish, German, and chenille embroidery. 
Lucy's education had been solid, rather than orna- 
mental : she spoke French well, and played a little ; 
and she was more skilled in plain sewing than in 
fancy. They never allowed their guarded fingers 
to come into contact with plain work, and had just 
as much idea of how anything useful was done, as 
of how the moon w^as made. So these two tine 
young ladies despised Lucy Arkell, after the 
fashion of the fine young ladies of the present day. 
Charlotte also was great in the consciousness of 
other self-importance, for she was soon to be a 
wife. That Captain Anderson whom you once 



MILDKED ARKELL. 229 

saw at a concert^ had paid a more recent visit to 
Westerbuiy; and he left it, engaged to Charlotte 
Arkell. 

Charlotte played a few bars, and then remem- 
hered to become curious on the subject of Lucy^s 
visit. She whirled herself round on the music 
stool : it had been a favourite motion of her 
mother's in the old days. 

" What have you come for, Lucy ?" 

" Papa wanted to see Mr. Arkell, and I walked 
with him. He is gone into the manufactory." 

^' I thought your papa was too ill to go out." 

'^ He is very ailing. I think he ought not to 
have come out on a day like this. Do not let me 
interrupt your practising, Charlotte." 

" Practising ! I have no heart to practise !" 
exclaimed Charlotte. " Papa is always talking in 
so gloomy a way. He was in here just now: I 
was deep in this sonata of Beethoven^s, and did 
not hear him enter, and he began saying it would 
be better if I and Sophy were to accustom ourselves 
to spend some of our time use/ullj/, for that he did 
not know how soon we mio-ht be oblis^ed to do it. 
He has laid down the carriage ; he has made fear- 
ful retrenchments in the household : I wonder 
what he would have ! And as to our buying any- 
thing new, or subscribing to a concert, or anything 
of that sort, mamma says she cannot get the 



230 MILDRED ARKELL. 

money from liim. I wish I was married, and gone 
from Westerbur}^ I I am thankful my future home 
is to be far away from it !" 

'^ Things may brighten here/^ was all the conso- 
lation that Lucy could offer. 

" I don't believe they ever will/' returned Char- 
lotte. " I see no hope of it. Papa looks some- 
times as if his heart were breaking/' 

" How soon the Miss Eauntleroys have gone out 
of mourning V observed Lucy. 

" Oh, I don't know. They wore it twelve 
months; that's long enough for anything. Let 
me give you a caution, Lucy," added Charlotte, 
laughing : " don't hint at such a thing as that 
Barbara Fauntleroy's not immaculate perfection : 
it would not do in this house." 

"Why?" exclaimed Lucy, wondering at her 
words and manner. 

" She is intended for its future head, you know^ 
when the present generation of heads shall — shall 
have passed away. I'm afraid that's being poetical ; 
I didn't mean to be/' 

Lucy sat as one in a maze, wondering what she 
might understand by the words. And Charlotte 
whirled round on her stool again to the sonata, 
with as little ceremony as she had whirled from it. 

"While Miss Fauntleroy was there, Mrs. Arkell 
had sent a private message to Travice that she 



MILDRED AUKELL. 231 

wanted him; but Travice did not obey the summons 
until the young lady was gone. He came then : 
and Mrs., Arkell attacked him for not coming 
before; she was attacking him now, while Char- 
lotte and Lucy were talking. 

'^ Why did you not come in at once ?" asked Mrs. 
Arkell, in the cross tone which had latterly become 
habitual ; " Barbara Fauntleroy was here/^ 

" That was just the reason/^ returned Travice, 
in his usual candid manner ; " I waited until she 
should be gone/'' 

If there was one thing that vexed Mrs. Arkell 
worse than the fact itself, it was the open way in 
which her son steadily resisted the hints to him on 
the subject of Miss Fauntleroy. She felt at times 
that she could have beaten him ; she was feeling 
so now. Her temper turned acrid, her face 
flushed, her voice rose. 

" Travice, if you persist in this systematic rude- 
ness " 

" Pardon me, mother. I wish you would refrain 
from bringing up the subject of Miss Fauntleroy 
to me. I do not care to hear of her in any way ; 

she Who's that? Why, I do believe it's 

Lucy's voice !" 

The colloquy with Mrs. Arkell had taken place 
in the hall. Travice made one bound to the draw- 
ing-room. The sudden flush on .the pale face, the 



232 MILDRED AEKELL. 

glad eagerness of the tone, struck dismay to the 
heart ot* Mrs. Arkell. She quickly followed him, 
and saw that he had taken both of Lucy's hands in 
greeting. 

" Oh_, Lucy ! are you here this morning ? I 
know you have come to stay the day ! Take your 
things off." 

Lucy laughed — and Mrs. Arkell had the pleasure 
of seeing that Iter cheeks wore an answering flush. 
She shook her head and drew her hands from 
Travice_, who seemed as if he could have kept them 
for ever. 

" Do I spend a day here so often that you think 
I can come for nothing else ? I only came with 
papa, and I am going back with him soon." 

But Travice pressed the point of staying. Char- 
lotte also — feeling, perhaps, that even Lucy was a 
welcome break to the monotony the house had 
fallen into — urged it. Mrs. Arkell maintained a 
marked silence ; and in the midst of it the two 
gentlemen came in. Mr. Arkell kissed Lucy, and 
said she had better stop. 

But Peter settled it the other way. Lucy must 
go home with him then, he said ; but if she liked 
to come down in the afternoon, and stay for the 
rest of the day, she could. It was so settled, and 
they took their departure. Mr. Arkell walked with 
Peter across the. courtyard, talking. Travice, in 



MILDRED ARKELL. 233 

the very face and eyes of his mother^ gave his arm 
to Lucy. 

'^ Why did you not stay ?^^ he whispered, as they 
arrived at the gates. " Lucy, do you know that to 
part with you is to part with my lifers sunshine T* 

Mrs. Arkell was standing at the door as he 
turned, and beckoned to him from the distance. 

" I wish to speak with you," she said, as he 
approached. 

She led the way into the dining-room, and closed 
the door on them, as if for some formidable inter- 
view. Travice saw that she was in a scarcely irre- 
pressible state of anger, and he perched himself on 
a vacant side-table — rather a favourite way of his. 
He beeran hummino: a tune: s^ailv, but not dis- 
respectfully. 

" What possesses you to behave in this absurd 
manner to Lucy Arkell ?" she began, in passion. 

" What have I done now ?" asked Travice. 

" You are continually, in some way or other, 
contriving to thrust that girPs company upon us ! 
I will not permit it, Travice ; I have borne with 
it too long. I " 

^^ Why, she is not here twice in a twelvemonth," 
interrupted Travice. 

• " Don't say absurd things. She is. And she is 
not fit society for your sisters." 

"If they were only half as worthy of her society 



234 MILDKED ARKELL. 

as she is superior to them, they would be very dif- 
ferent gii'ls from what they are," spoke Travice, 
with a touch of his father's old heat. " If there's 
one thing that Lucy is, pre-eminently, it's a gentle- 
woman. Her mother was one before her." 

Mrs. Arkell grew nearly black in the face. While 
she was trying to speak, Travice went on. 

" Ask my father what his opinion of Lucy is. 
He does not say she is here too much.'^ 

" Your father is a fool in some things, and so 
are you !" retorted Mrs. Arkell, a sort of scream in 
her voice. '' How dare you oppose me in this way, 
Travice ?" 

" I am very sorry to do so," returned the young 
mau J "and I beg your pardon if I say more than 
you think I ought. But I cannot join in your 
unjust feeling against Luc}^, aud I will not tolerate 
it. I wish you would not bring up this subject at 
all : it is one we never can agree upon." 

"You requested me just now not to 'bring up' 
the subject of Miss Fauntleroy to you," said Mrs. 
Arkell, in a tone of irony. " How many other 
subjects would you be pleased to interdict ?" 

" I don't want to hear even the name of those 
Fauntleroys '."burst out Travice, losing for a moment 
his equanimity. " Great brazen milkmaids !" 

" No ! you'd rather hear Lucy's !" screamed Mrs. 
ArkeU. "You'd " 



MILDRED ARKELL. 2>35 

" Lucy ! Don't name them with Lucy, my dear 
mother. They are not fit to tie Lucy^s shoes ! 
She has more sense of propriet}' in her little finger, 
than they have in all their great overgrown 
bodies ['^ 

This was the climax. And Mrs. Arkell, sup- 
pressing the passion that shook her as she stood, 
spoke with that forced calmness that is worse than 
the loudest fury. Her face had turned white. 

" Continue your familiar intercourse with that 
girl, if you will ; but, listen ! — you shall never 
make a wife of anyone so paltry and so pitiful ! 
I would pray Heaven to let me follow you to your 
grave, Travice, rather than see you marry Lucy 
Arkell.^^ 

She spoke the words in her blind rage, never 
reflecting on their full import; never dreaming 
that a day was soon to come, when their memory 
would return to her in her extremity of vain and 
hopeless repentance. 



236 MILDRED ARKELL. 



CHAPTER XII. 

MlSCOyCEPTIOX. 

" It shall be put a stox? to ! it shall be put a stop 
to !" murmured Mrs. Arkell to herself, as she sat 
alone when Travice had left her, trying to recover 
her equanimity. ^''Once separated from that 
wretched Lucy^ he would soon find charms in 
Barbara Fauntleroy." 

There was no time to be lost; and that same 
afternoon, when Lucy arrived, according to pro- 
mise, crafty Mrs. Arkell began to lay the founda- 
tion stone. Lucy found her in the drawing-room 
alone. 

" I w^ill take my bonnet upstairs/^ said Lucy. 
'•' Shall I find Charlotte and Sophy anywhere V 

" No/^ rej^lied Mrs. Arkell, in a very uncompro- 
mising tone. " They have gone out with the Miss 
Fauntleroys." 

'^ I was unwilling to come this afternoon," ob- 
served Lucy, as she returned and sat down, '' for 
papa does not seem so well. 1 fear he may have 



MILDRED APtKELL. 037 

taken cold to-day; but he got to his books and 
writing after dinner, as usuaL^^ 

"Does be think of bring-ing out a new book?" 
asked Mrs. Arkell ; and Lucy did not detect the 
irony of the question. 

" Not yet. He is about half through one. Is 
there any meeting to-day, do you know, Mrs. 
Arkell?" she resumed. "I met several gentlemen 
hurrying up the street as I came along." 

" I thought everybody knew of it," replied Mrs. 
Arkell. " A meeting of the manufacturers was 
convened at the Guildhall for this afternoon. Mr. 
Arkell and Travice have gone to it." 

"Their meetings seem to bring them no re- 
dress," returned Lucy, sadly. "The English 
manufacturers have no chance against the French 
now." 

" I don^t know what is to become of us," ejacu- 
lated Mrs. Arkell. " Charlotte, thank goodness, 
will soon be married and away ; but there^s Sophy ! 
Travice will have enough to live upon, without 
business." 

" Will he ?" exclaimed Lucy, looking brightly 
lip. " I am so glad to hear it ! I thought your 
property had diminished until it was but smalh'' 

"Our property is diminishing daily," replied 
Mrs. Arkell. "AVhich makes it the more necessary 
that Travice should secure himself by his marriage." 



238 MILDRED ARKELL. 

Lucy did not answer; but her heart throhbed 
violently, and the faint colour on her cheek forsook 
it. Mrs. Arkell, without looking towards her_, rose 
to poke the fire,, and continued talking as she 
leaned over the grate, with her back to Lucy. 

" It is intended that Travice shall marry Barbara 
Fauntleroy.'^ 

The sense of the words was very decided, carry- 
ing painful conviction to Lucy's startled ear. She 
could not have answered, had her life depended on it. 

'' Lucy, my dear,'' proceeded Mrs. Arkell, speak- 
ing with unwonted afiection, and looking Lucy full 
in the face, ^' I am speaking to you in entire con- 
fidence, and I desire you will respect it as such. 
Do not drop a hint to Travice or the girls ; they 
would not like my speaking of it." 

Lucy sat quiet ; and Mrs. Arkell quite devoured 
the pale face with her eyes. 

" At first he did not care much for Barbara ; and 
in truth he does not care for her now, as one we 
intend to marry ought to be cared for. But that 
Wi\[ all come in time. Travice, like many other 
young men, may have indulged in a little carved- 
out romance of his own — I don't know that he did, 
but he mai/ — and he has the good sense to see that 
his romance must yield to reality." 

" Yes 1" ejaculated Lucy, feeling that she was 
expected to say something in answer. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 239 

" There is our property dwindling down to little ; 
there^s the business dwindling down to nothing ; 
and suppose Travice took it into his head to marry 
a portionless girl, what prospect would there be 
before him ? Why, nothing but poverty and self- 
reproach; nothing but misery. And in time he 
would hate her for having brought him to it."' 

"True ! true V murmured Lucy. 

'' And now/' added Mrs. Arkell, " that he is on 
the point of consenting to marry Miss Fauntleroy, 
it is the duty of all of us, if we care for his future 
happiness and welfare^ to urge his hopes to that 
point. You see it, Lucy, I should think, as well 
as we do.'"* 

There was no outward emotion to be observed in 
Lucy. A transiently white cheek, a momentary 
quiver of the lip, and all that could be seen was 
over. Like her aunt Mildred, it was her nature to 
bear in silence ; but some of us know too well that 
that is the grief which tells. There was a slight 
shiver of the frame, visible to those keen eyes 
watching her, and she compelled herself to speak 
as with indifference. 

" Has he consented ?'' 

" !My dear Lucy, I said he was on the point of 
consenting. And there's no doubt he is. I had 
an explanation with Travice this morning; he 
seemed inclined to shun Miss Fauntleroy, for,, I 



240 MILDRED AKKELL. 

sent for him while she was here^ and he did not 
come. After you left, I spoke to him ; I pointed 
out the state of the case, and said wdiat a sweet 
q;iy\ Miss Fauntleroy was, what a charming wife 
she would make him ; and I hope I brought him 
to reason. You see, Lucy, how advantageous it 
will be in all ways, their union. Not only does it 
provide for Travice, but it will remove the worst 
of the great care hanging over the head of Mr. 
Arkell, and which I am sure, if not removed, w411 
shorten his life. Do you understand ?" 

*' I — think so," replied Lucy, whose brain was 
whirling in spite of her calm manner. 

Mrs. Arkell drew her chair nearer to Lucy, and 
dropped her voice. 

" Our position is this, my dear. A very great 
portion of Mr. ArkelFs property is locked up in 
his stock, which is immense. / should not have 
kept on manufacturing as he has done ; and I 
believe it has been partly for the sake of those rub- 
bishing workmen. Unless he can get some extra- 
neous help, some temporary assistance, he will have 
to force his stock to sale at a loss, and it would 
just be ruin. Miss Fauntleroy proposes to advance 
any sum he may require, as soon as the marriage 
has taken place, and there^s no doubt he \vill 
accept it. It will be only a temporary loan, you 
know; but it will save us a great, a ruinous loss." 



MILDRED ARK ELL. 241 

^^ She proposes to adv^ance it?^^ echoed Lucy, 
struck with the words, in the midst of her 
pain. 

" She does. She is as good hearted a girl as 
ever lived, and proposed it freely. In fact, she 
would be ready and willing to advance it at once, 
for of course she knows it would be a safe loan, but 
Mr. Arkell will not hear of it. She knows what 
our wishes are upon the subject of the marriage, 
and she sees that Travice has been holding back ; 
and but for her very good-natured disposition she 
might not have tolerated it. However, I hope all 
will soon be settled now, and she and Travice mar- 
ried. Lucy, my dear, I relij upon y ou for Mr. 
Arkell's sake, of whom you are so fond, for Travice's 
own sake, to forward on this by any little means 
in your power. And, remember, the confidence I 
have reposed in you must not be broken.''^ 

Lucy sat cold and still. In honour she must no 
longer think of a possible union with Travice — 
must never more allow word or look from him 
seeming to point to it. 

" For Mr. ArkelPs sake,^' she kept repeating to 
herself, as if she were in a dream ; " for Travice's 
own sake !" She saw the future as clearly as 
though it had been mapped out before lier eyes in 
some prophetic vision : Travice would marry Bar- 
bara Fauntleroy and her riches. She almost wished 

VOL. III. 16 



242 MILDKED AEKELL. 

she might never see him more ; it could only hving 
to her additional miser}^ 

Charlotte Arkell came in with Barbara Faunt- 
leroy. Sophy had gone home with the other one 
for the rest of the day. An old aunt, bed-ridden 
three parts of her time, had lived with the young 
ladies since the death of their father. But they 
were not so very young; and they were naturally 
independent. Barbara was quite as old as Travice 
Arkell. 

"How shall I bear to see them together?^' 
thought Lucy, as Barbara Fauntleroy sat down 
opposite to her, in her rustling silk of man}" 
colours, and no end of gold trinkets jingling about 
her. " I wonder why I was born ? But for papa, 
I could wish I had died as Harry did I" 

For that first evening, however, she was spared. 
Their little maid arrived in much commotion, asking' 
to see !Miss Lucy. Her papa was feeling worse 
than Avhen she left home, was the word she 
brought, and he thought if Lucy did not mind it, 
he should like her to go back to him at once. 

Lucy hastened home. She found her father very 
poorly; feverish, and coughing a great deal. It 
was the foreshadowing of an illness from which he 
was destined never to recover. 

AYhether his allotted span of life had indeed run 
out, or whether his exposure to the weather that 



MILDRED ARKELL. 243 

unlucky morning helped to shorten it^ Lucy never 
knew. A week or two of uncertain sickness — now 
a little better, now a little worse, and it became too 
evident that hope of recovery for Peter Arkell was 
over. A bowed, broken man in frame and spirit, 
but comparatively young in years, Peter was passing 
from the world he had found little else than 
trouble in. Lucy wrote in haste and distress for 
her Aunt Mildred, but a telegram was received in 
reply, announcing the death of Lady Dewsbury. 
She had died somewhat suddenly, Mildred said, 
when a letter came by the next morning's post, in 
which she gave particulars. 

It was nearly impossible for her to come away 
before the funeral : nothing short of imminent 
danger in her brother's state would bring her. 
She had for a long while been almost sole mistress 
of the household ; Lady Dewsbury was ever her 
kind friend and protectress; and she could not 
reconcile it to her feelings to abandon the house 
while she lay dead in it, unless her brother\s state 
absolutely demanded that she should. Lucy was 
to write, or telegraph, as necessity should require. 

There was no immediate necessity for her to 
come, and Lucy wrote accordingly. Lucy stayed 
on alone with the invalid, shunning as much as 
was possible the presence of Travice, when he made 
his frequent visits: that presence which had 

1G~2 



244 MILDRED ARKELL. 

hitherto heen to her as a light from heaven. Mrs. 
Arkellj paying a ceremonious call of condolence one 
day, whispered to Lucy that Travice was becoming 
quite " reconciled/' quite ^' fond" of Barbara 
Fauntleroy. 

On the evening of the day after Lady Dewsbury 
was interred; Mildred arrived in Westerbury. Lucj^ 
did not know she was coming, and no one was at the 
station to meet her. Leaving her luggage to be 
sent after her, she made her way to her brother^s 
house on foot : it was but a quarter of an hour's 
walk, and Mildred felt cramped with sitting in the 
train. 

She trembled as she came in sight of it, the old 
home of her youth, fearing that its windows might 
be closed, as those had been in the house just 
quitted. As she stood before the door, waiting to 
be admitted, remembrances of her childhood came 
painfully across her — of her happy girlhood, when 
those blissful dreams of William Arkell were 
mingled with every thought of her existence. 

*^ And oh ! what did they end in !'' she cried, 
clasping her hands tightly together and speaking 
aloud in her anguish. ^^ What am I now? Chilled 
in feeling ; worn in heart ; old before my time.'' 

A middle-aged woman, with a light in her hand, 
opened the door. Mildred stepped softly over the 
threshold. 



MILDRED ARK ELL. 24-5 

"How is Mr. Arkeil?" 

The womaa — she was the night nurse — stared at 
the handsomely attired strange lady_, whose deep 
mourning looked so fresh and new, coming in 
that unceremonious manner at the night-hour. 

'^ He is very ill, ma'am ; nearly as bad as he can 
be," she replied, dropping a low curtsey. " What 
did you please to want V 

"He is in his old chamber, I suppose," said 
Mildred, turning towards the staircase. The woman, 
quite taken aback at this unceremonious proceed- 
ing, interposed her person. 

"Goodness, ma'am, you can't go up to his 
chamber !" she cried out in amazement. " The 
poor gentleman's dying. I'll call Miss Lucy." 

" I am Miss Arkell," said Mildred quietly, pass- 
ing on up the staircase. 

She laid aside her sombre bonnet, with its deep 
crape veil, her heavy shawl, and entered the 
chamber softly. Lucy was at a table, measuring 
some medicine into a tea-cup. A pale, handsome 
young man stood by the fire, his elbow resting on 
the mantel-piece. Mildred glanced at his face, and 
did not need to ask who he was. 

Near the bed was Mr. William Arkell ; but oh ! 
how diff'erent from the lover of Mildred's youth I 
Now he was a grey-haired man, stooping slightly, 
looking older than his actual years — then tall. 



246 MILDRED ARKELL. 

handsome,, attractive, as Traviee was now. And 
did William Arkell, at the first view, recognise his 
cousin? No. For that care-worn, middle-aged 
woman, whose hair was braided under a white net 
cap, bore little resemblance to the once happy 
Mildred Arkell. But the dying man, lying pant- 
ing on the raised pillows, knew her instantaneously, 
and held out his feeble hands with a glad cry. 

It was a painful meeting, and one into which we 
have little right to penetrate. Soon, very soon, 
Peter spoke out the one great care that was lying 
at his heart. He had not touched upon it till then. 

" I am leaving my poor child alone in the world," 
he panted. " I know not who will afford her 
shelter — where she will find a home ?" 

'' I would willingly promise you to take her to 
mine, Peter,^' said Mr. Arkell. '^ Poor Lucy should 
be as welcome to a shelter under my roof as are my 
own girls ; but, heaven help me ! I know not how 
long I may have a home for any of them." 

^' Leave Lucy to me, Peter," interposed Miss 
Arkell. " I shall make a home for myself now, 
and that home shall be Lucy^s. Let no fear of her 
welfare disturb your peace." 

Traviee listened half resentfully. He was stand- 
ing against the mantel- piece still, and Lucy, just then 
stirring something over the fire, was close to him. 

" Tliei/ need not think about a home for you, 



MILDRED ARKELL. 247 

Liicy/^ he whispered, taking the one disengaged 
hand into his. " That shall be my care." 

Lucy coldly drew her hand away. Her head was 
full of Barbara Fauntleroy — of the certainty that 
that lady would be his wife — for she believed no 
earthly event would be allowed to set aside the 
marriage : her spirit rebelled against the words. 
What right had he to breathe such to her — he, the 
engaged husband of another ? 

" I shall never have my home with you/' she 
.said, in the same low whisper. " Nothing should 
induce me to it." 

"But, Lucy " 

" I will not hear you. You have no right so 
to speak to me. Aunt ! aunt !" — and the tears 
gushed forth in all their bitter anguish — "let me 
find a home with you !" 

Mildred turned and clasped fondly the appealing 
form as it approached her. Travice, hurt and re- 
sentful, quitted the room. 

The death came, and then the funeral. A day 
or two afterwards, Mrs. Arkell condescended to pay 
a stately visit of ceremony to Mildred, who re- 
ceived her in the formerly almost-unused drawing- 
room. Lucy did not appear. Miss Arkell, her 
heart softened by grief, by much trial, was more 
cordial than perhaps she had ever been to Mrs. 
Arkellj before her marriage or after it. 



248 MILDRED ARKELL. 

'* What a fine young man Travice is !" she ob- 
servedj in a pause of their conversation. 

'^ The finest in Westerbury/'^ said Mrs. Arkell, 
with all the partiality of a mother. " I expect he 
will be thinking- of getting married shortly.''^ 

" Of getting married ! Travice! To whom? 
To Lucy r 

The question had broken from her in her sur- 
prise, in association with an idea that had for long 
and lono^ floated throuo-h her brain — that Travice 
and Lucy were attached to each other. Mildred 
knew not whence it had its origin, unless it was in 
the frequent mention of Travice in Lucy^s letters. 
Mrs. Arkell heard, and tossed her head indignantly. 

^' I beg your pardon. Miss Arkell — to Luc?/, did 
you say ? Travice would scarcely think of wed- 
ding a portionless bride, under present circum- 
stances. You must have heard of the rich Fauntle- 
roy girls ? It is one of them." 

Mildred — calm, composed, quiet Mildred — could 
very nearly have boxed her own ears. Never, per- 
haps, had she been more vexed with herself — never 
said an inadvertent thing that she so much wished 
recalled. How entirel}' Lucy was despised, Mrs. 
ArkelFs manner and words proclaimed; and the 
fact carried its sting to Mildred^s heart. 

" I had no reason to put the question,'^ she said, 
only caring how she could mend the matter ; '^ I 



MILDRED ARKELL. 249 

dare say Lucy would not thank me for the idea. 
Indeed, I should fancy her hopes may lie in quite 
a different direction. Young* Palmer, the lawyer, 
the son of her father^s old friend, has been here 
several times this past week, inquiring after our 
health. His motives may be more interested ones." 

This was a little romance of Mildred''s, called 
forth by the annoyance and vexation of the mo- 
ment. It is true that Tom Palmer frequently did 
call; he and Lucy had been brought up more 
like brother and sister than anything else ; but 
Miss Arkell had certainly no foundation for the 
supposition she had expressed. And Mrs. Arkell 
knew she could have none; but she chose to 
believe it. 

'^It would be a very good match for Lucy," 
she replied. " Tom Palmer has a fine practice for 
so young a man ; there are whispers, too, that hp 
will be made town-clerk whenever the vacancy 
occurs." 

Home went Mrs. Arkell ; and the first of the 
family she happened to come across was Travice. 

" Travice, come to me for an instant," she said, 
taking his arm to pace the court-yard ; " I have 
been hearing news at Peter ArkelFs. Lucy's a sly 
girl; she might have told us, I think. She is 
eno^ao^ed — but I don't know how Ions: since. 
Perhaps only in these few days, since the funeral." 



\bO MILDRED ARKELL. 



" Engaged in what ?" 



" To be married. She marries Tom Palmer/' 

" It is not true/' broke forth Travice. " Who in 
the world has been telling you that falsehood ?" 

"Not true!" repeated Mrs. Arkell. "Why 
don't you say it is not true that I am talking to 
you — not true that this is Monday — not true that 
you are Travice Arkell ? Upon my word ! You are 
very polite^ sir." 

"Who told it you?" reiterated Travice. 

"T/ie?/ told me. Mildred Arkell told me. I 
have been sitting there for the last hour, and we 
have been talking that and other affairs over. I 
can tell you what, Travice — it will be an excellent 
match for Lucy; a far superior one to anything 
she could have expected — and they seem to know 
it." 

Even as she spoke, there shot a remembrance 
through Travice ArkelFs heart, as an icebolt, of the 
night he had stood with Lucy in the chamber of her 
dying father, and her slighting words, in answer 
to his offer of a home : "' I shall never have my 
home with you ; nothing should induce me to it." 
She would not hear him ; she told him he had no 
right so to speak to her. She had been singularly 
changed to him during the whole period of her 
father's illness ; had shunned him by every means 
in her power ; had been cold and distant when they 



MILDRED ARKELL. 251 

were brought into contact. Before that, she was 
open and candid as the day. This fresh conduct 
had been altogether inexplicable to Travice, and he 
now asked himself whether it could have arisen 
from any engagement to marry Tom Palmer. If 
so, the change was in a degree accounted for ; and 
it was certainly not impossible, if Tom Palmer had 
previously been wishing to woo her, that Mr. Peter 
Arkell, surprised by his dangerous illness, should 
have hurried matters to an eno^ao^ement. 

The more Travice Arkell reflected on this phase 
of probabilities, the more he became impressed with 
it : he grew to look upon it as a certainty ; he felt 
that all chance for himself with Lucy was over. 
Could he blame her? As things were with him 
and his father, he saw no chance of hu marrying 
her ; and, in a worldly point of view, Lucy had 
done well — had done right. It's true he had never 
thought her worldly, and he had thought that she 
loved him ; he believed that Tom Palmer had never 
been more to her than a wind that passes : but why 
should not Lucy have grown self-interested, as most 
other girls were ? And to Travice it was pretty 
plain she had. 

He grew to look upon it as a positive certainty ; 
he believed, without a shadow of doubt, that it must 
be the fact : and how bitterly and resentfully he all 
at once hated Tom Palmer, that gentleman himself 



'^o:Z MILDRED ARKELL. 

would have been surprised to find. It was only 
natural that Travice should feel it as a personal in- 
jury inflicted on himself — a slight_, an insult; you 
all know, perhaps, what this feeling is : and in his 
temper he would not for some days go near Lucy. 
It was only when he heard the news that Mildred 
was returning to London, and would take her niece 
with her, that he came to his senses. 

That same evening he took his way to the house. 
Mildred, it should be observed, was equally at cross- 
purposes. She hastened to speak to Lucy the day 
of Mrs. Arkell's visit, asking her if ske had heard 
that Travice was engaged to Miss Fauntleroy ; and 
Lucy answered after the manner of a reticent, self- 
possessed maiden, and made light of the thing, and 
was altogether a little hypocrite. 

" Known f/iat ! O dear, yes ! for some time,'^ 
she said. *^^It would be a very good thing for 
Travice.'^ 

And so ^iildred put aside any slight romance 
she had carved out for them, as wholly emanating 
from her imagination ; but the sore feeling — that 
Lucy was despised by the mother, perhaps by the 
son — clung to her still. 

She was sitting alone when Travice entered. He 
spoke for some time on indifferent subjects — of the 
news of the town ; of her journey to London ; of her 
future plans. They were to depart on the morrow. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 253 

" Where's Lucy ?'^ he suddenly asked ; and there 
was a restlessness in his manner throughout the 
interview that Mildred had never observed 
before. 

" She is gone to spend the evening with Mrs. 
Palmer. I declined. Visiting seems cjuite out of 
my way now/' 

" I should have thought it would just now be 
out of Lucy's/' spoke Travice^ in a glow of resent- 
ment. 

'^Ordinary visiting would be/' returned Miss 
Arkell, speaking with unnecessary coldness^ and 
conscious of it. ^' Mrs. Palmer was here this after- 
noon ; and, seeing how ill Lucy looked, she insisted 
on taking her home for an hour or two. Lucy will 
see no one there, except the family." 

"What makes her look ill?" 

Miss Arkell raised, her eyes at the tone. " She 
is not really ill in body, I trust ; but the loss of her 
father has been a bitter grief to her, and it is telling 
upon her spirits and looks. He was all she had in 
the world ; for I — comparatively speaking — am a 
stranger." 

There was a pause. Travice was leaning idly 
against the mantel-piece, in his favourite posi- 
tion, twirling the seals about that hung to his 
chain, his whole manner bespeaking indifference 
and almost contemptuous unconcern. Had anyone 



254 MILDRED ARKELL. 

been there who knew him better than Mildred did, 
they could have told that it was only done to 
cover his real agitation. Mildred stole a glance at 
the fine yonug man, and thought that if he re- 
sembled his father in person, he scarcely resembled 
him in courtesy. 

" Does Lucy really mean to have that precious 
fool of a Tom Palmer ?^' he abruptly asked. 

Miss Arkell felt indignant. She wondered how 
he dared to speak in that way ; and she answered 
sharply. 

'^ Tom Palmer is a most superior young man. I 
have not perceived that he has any thing of the 
fool about him, and I don^t think many others 
have. Whenever he marries, he will make an 
excellent husband. Why should you wish to set 
me against him ? Let me urge you not to interfere 
with Lucy^s affairs, Travice ; she is under my pro- 
tection now.^^ 

Oh, if Mildred could but have read Travice 
Ai'kelPs heart that night ! — if she had but read 
Lucy^s ! How different things might have been I 
Travice moved to shake hands with her. 

" I must wish you good evening," he said. "I hope 
you and Lucy will have a pleasant journej- to- 
morrow. We shall see you both again some time, I 
suppose.^^ 

He went out with the cold words upon his 



MILDRED ARKELL. 255 

lips. He went out with the conviction^ that 
Lucy was to marry Tom Palmer, irrevocabh' seated 
on his heart. And Travice Arkell thought the 
world was a miserable world, no long^er worth 
living in. 



256 MILDRED AEKELL, 



CHAPTER XIII. 

THE TABLES TURNED. 

Mildred Lad to go back for a time to Lady 
Dewsbury^s. That lady's house and effects now 
lapsed to Sir Edward ; but Sir Edward was abroad 
\Aith his wife and children, and he begged Miss 
Arkell to remain in it, its mistress,, until they could 
return. This was convenient for Mildred''s plans. 
It afforded a change of scene for Lucy ; and it 
gave the opportunity and time for the house in 
Westerbury to be renovated; in which she in- 
tended now to take up her abode. The house was 
Mildred's now : it came to her on the death of her 
brother, their father having so settled it ; but for 
this settlement, poor Peter had disposed of it in his 
necessities long ago. 

Charlotte Arkell married, and departed with her 
husband. Captain Anderson, for India, taking 
Sophy with her. The paying over her marriage 
portion of a thousand pounds — a very poor portion 
beside what she once might have expected — further 



MILDRED ARKELL. 257 

-crippled the resources of Mr. Arkell ; and things 
seemed to be coming to a crisis. 

And Travice ? Travice succumbed. Hardly 
-caring what became of him, he allowed himself to 
be baited — badgered — by his mother into offering 
himself to one of the " great brazen milkmaids.^"* 
From the hour of Lucy^s departure from the city, 
she let him have no peace, no rest. 

One day — and it was the last feather in the 
scale, the little balance necessary to weigh it down 
— i\Ir. Arkell summoned his son to a private in- 
terview. It was only what Travice had been 
expecting. 

"Travice, what is your objection to Miss 
Fauntleroy ?'^ 

" I can^'t bear the sight of her/^ returned Travice, 
curling his lips contemptuously. ''Can you, sir?"*' 

Mr. Arkell smiled. " There are some who would 
call her a fine woman, Travice : she is one.^^ 

" A fine vulgar womau,^^ corrected Travice, with 
a marked stress upon the word. " I always had 
an instinctive dread of vulgar people myself. I 
certainly never could have believed I should volun- 
tarily ally myself with one.^'' 

"Never marry for looks, my boy,^"* said Mr. 
Arkell in an eager whisper. " Some, who have 
-done so before you, have awoke to find they had 
made a cruel mistake.^' 

VOL. III. 17 



258 MILDRED ARKELL. 

'' Most likely,, sir, if tliey married for looks 
alone. ■'^ 

Mr. Arkell glanced keenly at his son. " Travice, 
have I your full confidence ? I wish you would 
give it me.^'' 

" In what way ?'' inquired Travice. " Why do 
you ask that ?'' 

"Am I right in suspecting that you have 
cherished a different attachment ?^^ 

The tell-tale blood dyed Travice ArkelFs brow. 
Mr. Arkell little needed other answer. 

'' My boy, let there be no secrets between us. 
You know that your welfare and happiness — your 
/lapjjiiiess, Travice — lie nearest to my heart. Have 
you learnt to love Lucy Arkell ?" 

''Yes," said Travice; and there was a whole 
world of pain in the simple answer. 

" I thought so. I thought I saw the signs of it 
a long while ago ; but, Travice, it would never do.^' 

" You would object to her ?" 

" Object to her !— to Lucy ! — to Peter's child 1 
No. She is one of the sweetest girls living ; I am not 
sure but I love her more than I do my o\vii : and 
I wish she could be my real daughter and your 
wife. But it cannot be, Travice. There are im- 
pediments in the way, on her side and on yours; 
and your own sense must tell you this as well as I 



MILDRED ARKELL. 259- 

He coiild not gainsay it. The impediments 
were all too present to Travice every hour of his 
life. 

" You cannot take a portionless wife. Lucy 
has nothing now, or in prospect,, beyond any little 
trifle that may come to her hereafter at Mildred^s 
death ; but I don't suppose Mildred can have saved 
much. It is said, too, that Lucy is likely to marry 
Tom Palmer." 

'' I Imow she is/' bitterly acquiesced Travice. 

" Lucy, then, for both these reasons, is out of 
the question. Have you not realized to your own 
mind the fact that she is ?'' 

" Oh yes.'' 

^' Then, Travice, the matter resolves itself into a 
very small compass. It stands alone; it has no 
extraneous drawbacks ; it can rest upon its own 
merits or demerits. Will you, or will you not, 
marry Miss Fauntleroy?" 

Travice remained silent. 

" It will be well for me that you should, for the 
temporary use of money that would then be yours 
would save us, as you know, from a ruinous loss ; 
but, Travice, I would not, for the wealth of worlds, 
put that consideration against your happiness; 
but there is another consideration that I cannot 
put away from me, and that is, that the marriage 

17—2 



^60 MILDRED ARKELL. 

will make you independent. For your sake, I 
should like to see you marry Miss Fauntleroy/'' 

'^She '' 

" Wait one moment while I tell you why I 
speak. I do not think you are doing quite the 
right thing by Miss Fauntleroy, in thus, as it 
were, trifling with her. She expects you to pro- 
pose to her, and you are keeping her in suspense 
unwarrantably Ion"". You should either make her 
an offer, or let it be unmistakably known, that 
there exists no such intention on your part. It 
would be a good thing in all ways, if you can only 
make up your mind to it ; but do as you please : 
/ do not urge you either way." 

'•I may as well do it,^^ muttered Travice to 
himself. " She has chosen another, and it little 
matters what becomes of me : look which way I 
will, there^s nothing but darkness. As well go 
through life with Bab Fauntleroy at my side, like 
an incubus, as go through it without her." 

And Travice Arkell — as if he feared his resolu- 
tion might desert him — w^ent out forthw^ith and 
offered himself to Miss Fauntleroy. Never, surely, 
did any similar proposal betray so much hatUeiir, 
so much indifference, so little courtesy in the 
offering. Barbara happened to be alone; she was 
sitting in a white muslin dress, looking as big as a 
house, and waiting in state for any visitors who 



MILDRED ARKELL. 2Gl 

mig-ht call. He spoke out immediately. She 
probably knew, he said, that he was a sort of 
bankrupt in self, purse, and heart ; little worth 
the acceptance of any one ; but if she would like 
to take him, such as he was, he would try and do 
his duty by her. 

The offer was really couched in those terms ; 
and he did not take shame to himself as he spoke 
them. Travice Arkell could not be a hypocrite : he 
knew that the girl was aware of the state of things 
aud of his indifference ; he believed she saw through 
his love for Lucy ; and he hated her with a sort of 
resentful hatred for having fixed her liking and her 
hopes upon him. He had been an indulged son all 
his life — a sort of fortune^s pet — and the turn that 
things had taken was an awful blow. 

^^ Will she say she'll have me V^ he thought as 
he concluded. ^^ I don't believe any other woman 
would." But Barbara Fauntleroy did say she 
would have him ; and she put out her hand to him 
in her hearty good-natured way, and told him she 
thought they should get on very well together when 
once they had ^' shaken down.'^ Travice touched the 
hand; he shook it in a gingerly manner, and then 
dropped it ; but he never kissed her — he never 
said a warmer word than " thank you." Perhaps 
Miss Fauntleroy did not look for it : sentiment is 
little understood by these matter-of-fact, unrefined 



262 MILDRED ARKELL. 

natures, with their loud voices, and their demon- 
strative temperaments. Travice would have to kiss 
her some time, he supposed ; but he was content to 
put off the evil until that time came. 

" How odd that you should have come and made 
me an offer this morning, Mr. Travice/^ she said, 
with a laugh. " Lizzie has just had one.^^ 

"Has she?" languidl)^ returned Travice. His 
mind was so absorbed in the thought just men- 
tioned, that he had no idea whether the lady meant 
an offer or a kiss that her sister had received, and 
he did not trouble himself to ask. It was quite 
the same to Travice Arkell. 

"It^s from Ben Carr,^^ proceeded Miss Faunt- 
ieroy. " He came over here this morning, bring- 
ing a great big nosegay from their hothouse, and 
he made Liz an offer. Liz was taken all of a heap ; 
and I think, but for me, she^d have said yes then.^' 

" I dare say she would," returned Travice, and 
then wished the words recalled. They and their 
haughty tone had certainly been prompted by the 
remembrance of the " yes," just said to him by 
another. 

" Liz came flying into the next room to me, ask- 
ing what she should do ; he was very pressing, she 
said, and wanted her answer then. I^m certain 
sheM have given it, Mr. Travice, if I had not been 
there to stop her. I went into the room with her 



MILDRED ARKELL. 263 

to Ben Carr, and I said, ' Mr. Ben, Liz won^t say- 
any thing decided now, but slie^ll think of it for a 
few days; if you'll look in on Saturday, she'll give 
you her answer, yes or no/ Ben Carr stared at me 
angry enough ; but Liz backed up what I had said, 
and he had to take it/^ 

" Does she mean to accept him ?'' asked Travice. 

" Well, she's on the waver. She does not dislike 
him, and she does not particularly like him. He's 
too old for her ; he's twenty years older than Liz ; 
but [it''s her first ofter, and young women are apt 
to think when they get that, they had better accept 
it, lest they may never get another.'^ 

" You sister need not fear that. Her money will 
get her offers, if nothing else does." 

He spoke in the impulse of the moment ; but it 
occurred to him instantly that it was not generous 
to say it. 

" Perhaps ' so," said Miss Fauntleroy. " But 
Lizzie and I have ahvays dreaded that. We would 
like to be married for ourselves, not for our money. 
Sometimes we say in joke to one another we wish 
we could bury it, or could have passed ourselves off 
to the world as being poor until the day after we 
were married, and then surprised our husbands by 
the news, and made them a present of the money." 

She spoke the truth ; Travice knew she did. 
Whatever were the failings of the Miss Fauntleroys, 



264 MILDRED ARKELL. 

genuine good nature was with both a pre-eminent 
virtue. 

" Ben Can is not the choice I should niake/^ re- 
marked Travice. " Of course^it^s no business of mine.'^ 

"Nor I. I don^t much like Ben Carr. Liz. 
thinks him handsome. "VVell_, she has got till Satur- 
day to make up her mind — thanks to me.^* 

Travice rose, and gingerly touched the hand 
again. The thought struck him again that he 
ought to kiss her ; that he ought to put an engage- 
ment-ring on one of those fair and substantial 
fingers; ought to do many other things. But he 
went outv, and did none of them. 

" V\\ not deceive her/^ he said to himself, as he 
walked down the street, more intensely wretched 
than he had ever in his life felt. " Til not play 
the hypocrite ; I couldn^t do it if it w^ere to save 
myself from hanging. She shall see my feeling 
for her exactly as it is, and then she'll not reproach 
me afterwards with coldness. It is impossible that 
I can ever like her; it seems to me now impossible 
that I can ever endure her; but if she does marry 
me in the face of such evident feelings, Pll do my 
best for her. Duty she shall have, but there^U be 
110 love.^' 

A very satisfactory state in prospective ! Others, 
however, besides Travice Arkell, have married ta 
enter on the same. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 265 

Some few months insensibly passed away in 
London for Miss Arkell and Luc}', and when they 
returned to Westerbury the earth was glowing 
with the tints of autumn. They did not return 
alone. Mrs. Dundyke, a real widow now beyond 
dispute^ came with them. Poor David Dundy ke, 
never quite himself after his return, never again 
indulging in the yearning for the civic chair, which 
had made the day-dream of his industrious life, had 
died calmly and peacefully, attended to the last by 
those loving hands that would fain have kept him, 
shattered though he was. He was lying now in 
Nunhead Cemetery, from whence he would cer- 
tainly never be resuscitated as he had been from 
his supposed grave in Switzerland. Mrs. Dundyke 
grieved after him still, and Mildred pressed her to 
ffo back with them to Westerburv, for a little 
change. She consented gladly. 

But Mrs. Dundyke did not go down in the 
humble fashion that she had once gone as Betsey 
Travice. She sent on her carriage and her two 
men servants. That there was a little natural feel- 
ing of retaliation in this, cannot be denied. Char- 
lotte had despised her all her life ; but she should 
at least no longer despise her on the score of 
poverty. '^ I shall do it," she said to Mildred, 
"and the carriage will be useful to us. It can be 
kept at an inn, with the hordes and coachman ; 



^66 MILDRED ARKELL, 

and John will be useful in helping your two 
maids/^ 

It was late when they arrived at Westerbury ; 
Miss Arkell did not number herself amid those who 
like to start upon a journey at daybreak ; and Lucy 
looked twice to see whether the old house was really 
her home : it was so entirely renovated inside and 
out, as to create the doubt. Miss Arkell had 
given her private orders, saying nothing to Lucy, 
and the chans^e was o^reat. Various embellishments 
had been added ; every part of it put into orna- 
mental repair ; a great deal of the furniture had 
been replaced by new; and, for its size, it was 
now one of the most charming residences in Wes- 
terbury. 

^^Do you like the change, Lucy?" asked Miss 
Arkell, when they had gone through the house to- 
gether, with Mrs. Dundyke. 

"Of com-se I do, Aunt Mildred ;'^ but the answer 
was given in a somewhat apathetic tone, as Lucy 
mostly spoke now. It must have cost a great 
deal." 

'^ Well, is it not the better for it ? I may not 
remain in Westerbury for good, and I could let my 
house to greater advantage now than I could have 
done before.^^ 

" That's true," listlessly answered Lucy. 

" Lucy," suddenly exclaimed Miss Arkell, ^^ what 



MILDRED ARKELL. 267 

is it that makes you appear so dispirited?" I could 
account for it after your father's death ; it was only 
reasonable then ; but it seems to me quite un- 
reasonable that it should continue. I begin to 
think it must be your natural manner/^ 

Lucy's heart gave a bound of something like 
terror at the question. " I was always quiet, 
aunt/' she said. 

None had looked on with more wonder at the 
expense being lavished on the house than Mrs. 
Arkell. ^' So absurd '/'' she exclaimed, loftily. 
'^ But Mildred Arkell was always pretentious, for 
a lady^s maid.^^ 

William Arkell called to see Mildred tlie morn- 
ing after her arrival. Very much surprised indeed, 
was he, to see also Mrs, Dundyke. He carried the 
news home to his wife. 

'' Betseij down here !''" she answered. " Why, 
what has brought her T^ 

" She told me she had accompanied Mildred for 
a little change. She is coming in to see you by- 
and-by, Charlotte.'^ 

" I hope she's not coming begging !" tartl}^ res- 
ponded Mrs. Arkell. 

"Begging?" 

" Yes ; begging. It's a question whether she's 
loft with enough to live upon. I'm sure we have 
none to spare, for her or for any])ody else ; and 



268 MILDRED ARKELL. 

SO I shall plainly tell her if she attempts to 
ask." 

That they had none to spare, was an indisputable 
fact. Mrs. Arkell had done all in her po\A'er to 
hurry the marriage on with Miss Fauntleroy, but 
Traviee held back unpardonably. His cheek grew 
bright with hectic, his whole time was spent in 
what his mother called " moping ;^' and he entered 
but upon rare occasions the house of his bride elect. 
Mr. Arkell would not urge him by a single word ; 
but, in the delay, he had had to sacrifice another 
remnant of his property. 

The first use that Mrs. Dundyke put her carriage 
to in Westerburv, was that of ffoin^: in it to William 
ArkelFs. Mildred declined to accompany her, and 
Lucy was obliged to go with her ; Lucy, who would 
have o^iven the whole world not to 2^0. But she 
could not say so. 

Mrs. Arkell was in the dining-room, when the 
carriage drove in at the court-yard gates. She 
wondered whose it was. A nice close carriage, the 
servants attending it in mourning. She did not 
recognise it as one she knew. 

She heard the visitors shown into the drawing- 
room^ and waited for the cards with some curiosity. 
Eut no cards came in. Mrs. Dundyke, the ser- 
vant brought word, and she was with ^liss 
Lucy Arkell. 



MILDRED AEKELL. 269 

Mrs. Dundyke ! Wondering what on earth 
brought Betsey in that carriage, and where she had 
picked it up, Mrs. Arkell took a closer view of it 
through the window. It was too good a carriage 
to be anything but a private one, and those 
horses were never hired ; and there were the 
servants. She looked at the crest. But it v/as 
not a crest. Only an enclosed cipher, D.D. 

It did not lessen her curiosity, and she went to 
the drawing-room, wondering still ; but she never 
once glanced at the possibility that it could 
be Mrs. Dundyke^s ; the thought occurred to 
her that it must belong to some member of 
the Dewsbury family, and had been lent to 
Mildred. 

It was a stiff meeting. Mrs. Arkell, fully 
imbued with the persuasion that her sister was 
left badly off, that she was the same poor sister of 
other days, was less cordial than she might have 
been. She shook hands with, her sister ; she shook 
hands with Lucy; but in her manner there was 
a restraint that told. They spoke of general sub- 
jects, of Mr. Dundyke^s strange adventure in 
Switzerland, and his subsequent real death ; of 
Lucy's sojourn in London ; of Charlotte^s recent 
marriage ; of the departure of Sophy with her for 
India — just, in fact, as might have been the case 
with ordinary guests. 



270 MILDRED AFvKELL. 

"Travice is soon to be married, I hear/' said 
Mrs. Dundyke. 

" Yes ; but be holds back unpardonably/' 
Had INTrs. Arkell not been thinking of something 
else^ she had never given that tart, but true answer. 
She happened just then to be calcuk^ting the cost 
of Mrs. Dundyke's handsome mourning, and won- 
dering how she got it. 

"Why does he hold back?" quickly asked Mrs. 
Dundyke. 

'^ Oh, I don't know,'' said Mrs. Arkell, with a 
gay, slighting laugh. " I suppose young men like 
to retain their bachelor liberty as long as they can. 
Does your aunt purpose to settle down in Wester - 
bury, Lucy ?" 

^' For the present." 

" Does she think of going out again ?''" 
" Oh no." 

" Perhaps she has saved enough to keep herself 
without ? She could not expect to find another such 
place as Lady Dewsbury's." 

It was not a pleasant visit, and Mrs. Dundyke 
did not prolong it. As they were going out they 
met Travice. 

" Oh, Aunt Betsey ! How glad I am to see 
you 1" 

Bat he turned coldly enough to shake hands with 
Lucy. He cherished resentment against her in his 



MILDRED ARKELL. 271 

heart. She saw he did not look well; but she was 
cold as he was. As he walked across the hall with 
his aunt^ Mrs. Arkeli drew Lucy back into the 
drawing-room. Her curiosity had been on the rack 
all the time. 

" Whose carriage is that, Lucy ? One belonging 
to the Dewsbmys' ?" 

^atisMrs. Dundyke's.'' 

" Mrs. what did you say ? I asked whose 

carriage that is that you came in/^ added Mrs. 
Arkeli, believing that Lucy had not heard 
aright. 

"Yes, I understood. It is Mrs. Dundyke's. She 
sent it on, the day before yesterday, with her ser- 
vants and horses.^' 

" But — does — she — keep a carriage and ser- 
vants ?^^ reiterated Mrs. Arkeli, hardly able to 
bring out the words in her perplexed amazement. 

" Oh, yes.^' 

" Then she must be left well off?'' 

"Very well. She is very rich . I believe her in- 
come is close upon two thousand a year.'' 

" Two thou " Mrs. Arkeli wound up with 

a shriek of astonishment. Lucy had to leave her 
to recover it in the best way she could, for Mrs. 
Dundyke had got into the carriage and was waiting 
for her. 

The poor, humble Betsey, whom she had so des- 



272 MILDRED AEKELL. 

pised and slighted tlirongli life ! Come to fJils for- 
tune ! While hers and her husband's was going 
down. How the tables were turned ! 

Yes^ Mrs. Arkell. Tables always are on the turn 
in this life. 



MILDRED ARK ELL. 27^ 



CHAPTER XIV. 



A EECOGNITION, 



When the first vexation was overcome^ the most 
prominent thought that remained to Mrs. Arkell 
was, what a fool she had been, not to treat Betsey 
better — one never knew wdiat would turn up. All 
that could be done was, to begin to treat her well, 
now : but it required diplomacv. 

Mrs. Arkell beo;an bv beincr 2:racious to ]\Iildred, 
by being quite motherly in her behaviour to Lucy ; 
this took her often to Miss Arkell's, and conse- 
quently into the society of Mrs. Dundyke. Sisterly 
affection must not be displayed all at once; it should 
come by degrees. 

As a preliminary, Mrs. Arkell introduced to her 
sister and Mildred as many of her influential 
friends in Westerbury as she could prevail upon 
them to receive. This was not many. Gentle at 
heart as both were, neither of them felt inclined ta 
be patronized by Mrs. Arkell now, after her life- 
time of neglect. They therefore declined the in- 

yoL. HI. 18 



274 MILDRED ARKELL. 

troductions,, allowing an exception only in the 
persons of the Miss Fauntleroys^ who were 
so soon, through the marriage of Travice and 
Barbara, to be allied to the family. Mrs. Dmidyke 
was glad to renew her acquaintance^ with Mr. 
Prattleton and his daughter. 

Both the Miss Fauntleroys were making pre- 
parations for their marriage, for the younger one 
had accepted Mr. Benjamin Carr. The old squire, 
so fond of money, was in an ecstacy at the match 
his fortunate son was going to make, and Ben had 
just now taken a run up to Birmingham to look at 
some furniture he had seen advertised. Ben had a 
good deal of the rover in his nature still, and was 
glad of an excuse for taking a run anj^where. 

The Miss Fauntleroys grew rather intimate at 
Mildred^s. Their bouncing forms and broad good- 
natured faces, were often to be seen at the door. 
They began rather to be liked there ; their vul- 
garity lessened with custom, their well-meaning 
good humour won its own way. They invited 
Miss Arkell, her niece, and guest, to spend a long 
afternoon with them and help them with some 
plain work they were doing for the poor sewing- 
•club — for they were adepts in useful sewing, were 
theMiss Fauntleroys — and to remain to dinner after- 
wards. Lucy would have given the whole world 
to refuse : but she had no ready plea ; and she had 



MILDRED ARKELL. 275 

not the courage to make one. So she went with 
the rest. 

She was sitting at one of the windows of the 
large drawing-room with Lizzie Fauntleroy, both of 
them at work at the same article, a child's frock, 
when Travice Arkell entered. Lucy's was the first 
face he saw : and so entirely unexpected was the sight 
of it to him, that, for once in his life, he nearly lost 
his self-possession. No wonder; with the con- 
sciousness upon him of the tardy errand that had 
taken him there— that of asking his future bride 
to appoint a time for their union. Once more Mr. 
Arkell had spoken to his son: ^'^You must not 
continue to act in this way, Travice; it is not 
right ; it is not manly. Marry Miss Fauntleroy, 
or give her up ; do which you decide to do, but it 
must be one or the other.'' And he came straight 
from the conference, as he had on the former occa- 
sion, to ask her when the wedding day should be. 
He could not sully his honour by choosing the 
other alternative. 

A hesitating pause, he looking like one who has 
been caught in some guilty act, and then he 
walked on and shook hands with Miss Fauntleroy. 
He shook hands with them all in succession ; with 
Lucy last : that is, he touched the tips of her 
fingers, turning his conscious face the other 
way. 

18—2 



27G MILDRED ARKELL. 

" Have you brought me any message from Mrs.. 
Arkell ?" asked Miss Fauntleroy, for it was so un- 
usual a thing for Travice to call in the day that 
she concluded he had come for some specific 
purpose. 

^' No. I — I came to speak to you myself/^ he 
answered. And his words were so hesitating, his 
manner so uncertain^ that they looked at him in 
surprise; he who was usually self-possessed to a 
fault. Miss Fauntleroy rose and left the room 
w^ith him. 

She came back in about a quarter of an hour, 
giggling, laughing, her face more flushed than 
<}rdinary, her manner inviting inquiry. Lizzie 
Fauntleroy, with one of those unladylike, broad 
allusions she was given to use, said to the com- 
pany that by the looks of Bab, she should think 
Mr. Travice Arkell had been asking her to name 
the day. There ensued a loud laugh on Barbara's 
part, some skirmishing with her sister, and then a 
tacit acknowledgment that the surmise was cor- 
rect, and that she had named it. Lucy sat per- 
fectly still : her head apparently as intent upon 
her work as were her hands. 

'' Liz may as well name it for herself," retorted 
Barbara. " Ben Carr has wanted her to do it before 
now" 

'' There^s no hurry,^^ said Lizzie. ^' For me, at- 



MILDRED ARK ELL. 277 

uny rate. When one's going to many a man so 
much older than oneself, one is apt not to be over 
.ardent for it.-*' 

They continued to work, an industrious party. 
Accidental!}^, as it seemed, the conversation turned 
upon the strange events which had occurred at 
Geneva : it was through Mrs. Dundyke^s mention- 
ing some embroidery she had just given to Mar}^ 
Prattleton. The Miss Fauntleroys, who had only, 
as they phrased it, heard the story at second-hand, 
besouirht her to tell it to them. And she com- 
plied with the request. 

They suspended their work as they listened. It 
is probable that not a single incident was men- 
tioned that the Miss Fauntleroys had not heard 
before; but the circumstances altogether were of 
that nature that bear hearing — ay, and telling — over 
and over again, as most mysteries do. Their chief 
curiosity turned — it was only natural it should — 
on Mr. Hardcastle, and they asked a great many 
questions. 

'^ I would have scoured the whole country but 
uhat I'd have found him," cried Barbara. 
" Genoa ! Hely upon it, he and his wife turned 
.their faces in just the contrary direction as soon as 
.they left Geneva. A nice pair." 

" Do you think," asked Lucy, in her quiet man- 
jicr, raising her eyes to ]Mrs. Dundyke, " that Mr. 



278 MILDRED AKKELL. 

Hardcastle followed him for the purpose of attack- 
ing^ and robbing: him ?^^ 

" Ah, my dear, I cannot tell. It is a question 
that I often ask myself. I feel inclined to think 
that he did not. One thing I seem nearly sure of — 
that he did not intend to injure him. I have not 
the least doubt that Mr. Hardcastle was at his 
wit^s end for money to pay his hotel bill, and 
that the thirty pounds my poor husband men- 
tioned as having received that morning, was an 
almost irresistible temptation. There's no doubt 
he followed him to the borders of the lake ; that 
he induced him, by some argument, to walk 
away with him, across the country ; but whether 
he did this with the intention of ^^ 

" Did Mr. Dundyke not clear this up after his 
return ?" interrupted Lizzie Fauntleroy. 

" Never clearly ; his recollections remained so 
confused. I have thought at times, that the 
crime only came with the opportunity,'^ con- 
tinued Mrs. Dundyke, reverting to what she 
was saying. " It is possible that the heat of the 
day and the long walk, though why Mr. Hard- 
castle should have caused him to take that long 
walk, unless he had ulterior designs, I cannot tell 
— may have overpou^ered my husband with a 
faintness, and Mr. Hardcastle seized the oppor- 
tunity to rifle his pocket-book/' 



MILDRED ARKELL. 279 

^' You seem to be more lenient in your judgment 
of Mr. Hardcastle than I should he/' observed 
Lizzie Fauntleroy. 

'^ I have thought of it so long and so often, that 
I believe I have grown to judge of the past im- 
partially/^ was Mrs. Dundyke^s answer. " At first 
I was very much incensed against the man ; I am 
not sure but I thought hanging too good for him ; 
but I grew by degrees to look at it more reason- 
ably/^ 

"And the pencil?'' 

*'^ He must have taken it from the pocket-book 
in his hurry, when he took the money. That he 
did it all in haste, the not finding the two half- 
notes for fifty pounds proves.'' 

" Suppose Mr. Dundyke had returned to Geneva 
the next day and confronted him. What then?" 

*^^Ah, I don't know. Mr. Hardcastle relied, 
perhaps, upon being able to make good his own 
story, and he knew that David had the most un- 
bounded faith in him." 

"Well, take it in it's best light— that Mr. 
Dundyke fainted from the heat of the sun — the 
man must have been a brute to leave him alone," 
concluded Lizzie Fauntleroy. 

" Yes/' was the answer, as a faint colour rose to 
Mrs. Dundyke's cheek; " that I can never forgive." 

The afternoon and the work progressed satis- 



280 MILDRED ARKELL. 

factorily, and dinner time arrived. Miss Fauntle- 
roy had invited Travice to come and partake of itj 
but lie said he had an engagement — which she did 
not half believe. The nearly bed-ridden old aunt 
came down to it^ and was propped up to the table 
in an invalid chair. Miss Fauntleroy took the head; 
Miss Lizzie the foot. It was a well-spread board : 
Lawyer Fauntleroy's daughters liked good dinners. 
Their manners were more free at home than abroad, 
rather scarino^ IMildred. " How could Travice have 
chosen kere ?^^ she mentally asked. 

" There's no gentlemen present, so I don't see 
why I should not give you a toast/^ suddenly 
jexclaimed Lizzie Fauntleroy, as the servant was 
pouring out the first glass of champagne. '' The 
brideirroom and bride elect. Mr. Travice Ar '' 

Lizzie stopped in surprise. Peeping in at tlie 
door, in a half-jocular, half-deprecatory manner, as 
if he would ask pardon for entering at the un- 
seasonable hour, was Mr. Benjamin Carr. His 
somewhat dust\' appearance, and his overcoat on his 
arm, showed that he had then come from the 
station after his Birmingham journey. Lizzie, too 
hearty to be troubled w^th superfluous reticence or 
ceremony of any kind, started up w^ith a shout of 
welcome. 

Of course everything was dis-arranged. The 
visitors looked up with surprise ; Barbara turned 



MILDRED ARKELL. 281 

round and ^rave him her hand. Ben be£]:an an 
apology for sitting down in the state he was, and 
had handed his coat to a serv^ant, when lie found a 
firm hand laid upon his arm. He wheeled round, 
wondering* who it was, and saw a widow's cap, 
and a face he did not in the first moment re- 
cognise. 

''Mr. Hardcastler 

With the words, the voice, the recognition came 
to him, and the past scenes at Geneva rose before 
his startled memory as a vivid dream. He might 
have l)razened it out had he been taken less utterly 
by surprise, but that unnerved him : his face turned 
ash}^ white, his whole manner fiiltered. He looked 
to the door as if he would liave bolted out of it; 
but somebody had closed it again. 

Mrs. Dundyke turned her face to the amazed 
listeners, who had risen from their seats. But 
that it had lost its colour also, there was no trace in 
it of agitation : it was firm, rigid, earnest; and her 
voice was calm even to solemnity. 

" Before heaven, I assert that this is the man 
who in Geneva called himself ~Slv. Hardcastle, who 
did that injury — much or little, he best knows — to 
my husband ! He '^ 

''But this is Benjamin Carr!^^ interrupted the 
wondering "Miss Fauntleroy. 

" Yes ; just so ; Benjamin Carr,^^ assented Mrs. 



282 MILDRED ARKELL. 

Dundyke_, in a tone that seemed to say she expected 
the words. "I recognised you, Benjamin Carr, on 
the last day of your stay in Geneva, when you were 
ofivine: me that false order on Leadenhall Street. 
From the moment I first saw you_, the morning 
after we arrived at Geneva, your eyes puzzled me. 
I hnew I had seen them somewhere before, and I 
told my poor husband so ; but I could not recollect 
where. In the hour of your leaving, the recollec- 
tion came to me ; and I knew that the eyes were 
those of Benjamin Carr, or eyes precisely similar 
to his. I thought it must be the latter ; I could 
not suppose that Squire Carres son, a gentleman 

born and reared " 

But here a startling interruption intervened. It 
suddenly occurred to Miss Lizzie Fauntleroy, 
amidst the general confusion outward and inward, 
that the Mr. Hardcastle who had figured in the 
dark and disgraceful story, was said to have been 
accompanied by a wife. Considering that he was 
now designing to confer that honour upon her, the 
reflection was not agreeable. Miss Lizzie came to 
a hasty conclusion, that the real Mrs. Carr 
must be lying iwrdv.e somewhere, while he pro- 
secuted his designs upon herself and her money, 
conveniently ignoring the result of what he might be 
running his head wholesale into — a prosecution for 
bigamy. She went butting at him, her voice* 



MILDRED ARKELL. 283 

raised to a shriek, her nails out_, alarmingly near !o 
his face. 

" You false, desperate, designing villain ! You 
dare to come courting me as a single man ! You 
nearly drew me into a marriage ! Whereas your 
wife ? Where\s your wife, villain V 

TJds charge was a mistaken one, and Ben Carr 
somew^hat rallied his scared senses. " It is false,^^ 
he said. ^' I swear on my honour that I have no 
wife ; I swear that I never have had one.^'' 

"You had your wife with you in Geneva,''^ said 
Mrs. Dundyke. 

" She was not my wife. Lizzie Eauntleroy, 
can^t you believe me ? I have never married yet. 
I never thought of marrying until I saw you.''^ 

"It^s all the same now/' said Lizzie, with 
equanimity. " I don't like tricks played me. 
Better that I should have discovered this before 
marriage than after.'' 

" It is false, on my honour. You will not allow 
it to make any difference to our " 

" Not allow it to make any difference," interposed 
Lizzie, imperiously cutting short his words. '^ Do 
you take me for a fool, Ben Carr ? Yoii've seen the 
last of me, I can tell you that ; and if pa were 
living still, he should prosecute you for getting my 
consent to a marriage under false pretences." 

"If I do not prosecute you, Benjamin Carr," re- 



£84 MILDRED ARKELL. 

Slimed Mrs. Dandyke, '^ you owe it partly to ray 
consideration for j'our family_, partly to the unhappy 
fiict that it could not bring my poor husband back 
to life. It could not restore to him the njental 
power he lost^ the faculties that were destroyed. 
It could not bring back to me my lost happiness. 
How far you may have been guilty, I know not. 
It must rest with your conscience, and so shall your 
punishment." 

He stood something like a stag at bay — half 
doubting whether to slink away, whether to turn 
and beard his pursuers. Barbara Fauntleroy threw 
wide the door. 

^' You had better quit us, I think, Mr. Carr." 

'^I see what it is," said he, at length, to the 
]Miss Eauntleroys. "You are just now too preju- 
diced to listen to reason. The tale that woman has 
been telling you of me is a mistaken one ; and when 
you are calm, I will endeavour to convince you of 
it." 

" Calm, man !" cried Barbara, with a laugh. 
'' Fin calm enough. It isn^t such an interlude, as 
this, that could take any calmness aw^ay from me. 
It has been as good to me as a scene at the play." 

But the gentleman did not wait to hear the con- 
clusion. He had escaped through the open door. 
Those left stared at one another. 

'• Come along," said Lizzie, with unruffled com^. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 285 

posure; " don't let the dinner get colder than it is. 
I dare say I'm well rid of him. Where's our glasses 
of champagne ? A drop will do us all good. Oh 
dear, Mrs. Dundyke ! I*ray don't suffer it to trouble 
you!" 

She had sat down in a far corner, poor woman, 
with her face hidden, drowned in a storm of silent 
tears. 

The event, quickly though it had transpired — 
over, as it were, in a moment — exercised a power- 
ful influence on the spirits of ]Mrs. Dundyke. It 
brought the old trouble so vividly before her, that 
she could not rally again as the days went on ; and 
she told Mildred that she should go back to London, 
but would come to her again at a future time. The 
resolution was a sudden one. Mrs. Arkell hap- 
pened to call the same day, and was told of it. 

" Going back to London to-morrow !^' repeated 
Mrs. Arkell in consternation ; and she hastened to 
her sister^s room. 

Mrs. Dundyke had her drawers all out, and her 
travelling trunk open, beginning to put things to- 
gether. Mrs. Arkell went in, and closed the door. 

"Betsey, you are going back, I hear; therefore 
I must at once ask the question that I have been 
intending to ask before your departure. It may 
sound to you somewhat premature : I don't know* 
Will you forget and forgive V^ 



286 MILDRED AKKELL. 

'( Foriret and fori^rive what?" 
" My coldness during the past years/^ 
" I am willing to forgive it, Charlotte, if that 
Avill do you any good. To forget it is an impos- 
sibility/^ 

Mrs. Dundyke spoke with civil indifference. She 
was wrapping different toilet articles in paper, and 
she continued her occupation. Mrs. Arkell, in a 
state of bitter vexation at the turn things had 
taken, terribly self-repentant that she should have 
pursued a line of conduct so inimical to her own 
interests, sat down on a low chair, and fairly burst 
into tears. 

" Why, what's the matter, Charlotte V 
" You are a rich woman now, and therefore you 
despise us. We are growing poor/^ 

" How can you talk such nonsense !" exclaimed 
Mrs. Dundyke, screwing down the silver stopper of 
a scent-bottle. " If I became as rich and as grand 
as a duke, it could never cause me to make the 
slightest difference in my conduct to anybody, high 
or low." 

" Our intercourse has been so cold, so estranged, 
during this visit !" 

'^ And, but that you find I am a little better off 
than you thought for, would you have allowed it to 
be otherwise than cold and estranged?'' returned 
Mrs. Dundyke, putting down the scent-bottle, and 
facing her sister. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 287 

There was no reply. What, indeed, could there 
be? 

" Charlotte/^ said Mrs. Dundyke, dropping her 
voice to earnestness, as she went close to her sister, 
*' the past wore me out. Ask yourself what your 
treatment of me was — for years, and years, and 
years. You know how I loved you — how I tried 
to conciliate you by every means in my power — to 
be to you a sister ; and you would not. You threw 
my affection back upon myself; you prevented Mr. 
Arkell and your children coming to me ; you heaped 
unnecessary scorn upon my husband. I bore it ; I 
strove against it ; but my patience and my love 
gave way at last, and I am sorry to say resent- 
ment grew in its place. Those feelings of 
affection, worn out by slow degrees, can never grow 
again. ''^ 

'^ It is as much as to say that you hate 
me!" 

" Not so. We can be civil when we meet ; and 
that can be as often as circumstances brino; us into 
the same locality. But I do not think there can 
ever be cordiality between us again." 

" T had thought you were of a forgiving dispo- 
sition, Betsey." 

" So I am." 

" I had thought " Mrs. Arkell paused a 

moment, as if* half ashamed of what she was about 



28 S MJLDRED AUK ELL. 

to say — ^' I had thouglit to enlist your sisterly 
feelings for me; that is, for my daughters. You 
are rich now ; you have plenty of money to spare ; 
and their patrimony has dwindled down to nothing 
— nothing compared to what it ought to have been. 
They '' 

" Stav, Charlotte. We may as well come to an 
understanding on this point at once ; it will serve 
for always. Your daughters have never condes- 
cended to recognise me in tlieir lives ; it was per- 
haps your fiuilt^ perhaps theirs : I don^t know. But 
the eflPect upon me has not been a pleasant one. I 
shall decline to help them." 

Mrs. Arkell's proud spirit was rising. What it 
had cost thus to bend herself to her Hfe-despised 
sister, she alone knew. She beat her foot upon the 
hearth-rug. 

'' I don't know how they'll get along. But for 
Mr. ArkelFs having kept on the business for 
Travice, we should be rich still. He has always 
been a fool in some things.'' 

" Don't disparage your husband before me, Char- 
lotte ; I shall not listen calmly ; you were never 
worthy of him. I love Mr. Ark ell for his good- 
ness, and I love your son. If you asked me for 
help for Travice, you should have it; never for 
your daughters." 

'''Very kind, I'm sure! when you know he does 



MILDRED ARKELL. 289 

not want it/' was the provoking and angry answer. 
" Travice is placed above requiring your help,, by 
marriage with Miss Fauntleroy." 

And Mrs. Arkell gave her head a scornful toss 
as she went out, and banged the chamber-door 
after her. 



VOL. III. 19 



290 MILDRED ARKELL. 



CHAPTER XV. 

Mildred's eecompense. 

The consent of Travice once obtained, the necessaiy 
word spoken to Miss Fauntleroy,Mrs. Arkell hurried 
the marriage on in earnest. So long as Travice had 
only made the offer, and given no signs of wishing 
for the ceremony to take place, not much could be 
done ; but he had now said to Barbara, " Fix your 
own day." 

There was no trouble needed in regard to a house ; 
at least, there had not hitherto been. The house 
that the Miss Fauntleroys lived in was their own, 
and Barbara wished to continue in it. It was sup- 
posed that her sister would be moving to a farm in 
the parish of Eckford. That was now frustrated. 
'^ Never mind,'-' said Barbara, in her easy way, 
^' Lizzie can stop on with us ; Travice won't mind 
it, and I shall like it. If we find afterwards that 
it does not answer, different arrangements can be 
made.^^ 

The Miss Fauntleroys were generous in the 



MILDRED ARKELL. 291 

matter of Benjamin Carr. Those others who had 
been present were generous, even Mrs. Dundyke. 
The identification of the gentleman with the Mr. 
Hardcastle, of Geneva memory, was not allowed to 
transpire : they all had regard to the feelings of the 
squire and his family. It was fortunate that the 
only servant in the room had gone from it with 
Benjamin Carres over-coat^ and Barbara had had 
the presence of mind to slip the bolt of the door. 
Mr. Ben Carr, however^ thought it w^ell to take a 
tour just at this time, and he did not show his face 
in Westerbury previous to his departure. 

Lucy Arkell was solicited to be one of the brides- 
maids ; but Lucy declined. Mildred remembered a 
wedding which she had declined to attend as brides- 
maid. How little, how little did she think that the 
same cruel pain was swaying the motives of Lucy! 
Lucy and her aunt saw but little now of the 
Arkells. Travice never called ; Mr. Arkell, full of 
trouble, confined himself to his home ; and ^Irs. 
Arkell had not entered the house since the rebuff 
given her by Mrs. Dundyke. Lucy held aloof from 
them ; and Mildred certainly did not go there of 
her own accord. It therefore came to pass that 
they heard little news of the doings there, except 
what might be dropped by chance callers-in. 

And now, as if Mildred had really been gifted 
with prevision, Tom Palmer made an offer of his 

19—2 



292 MILDRED AKKELL. 

hand and heart to Lucy. Lucy^s response was by 
no means a dignified one — she burst out crying-. 
Mildred, in surprise, asked what was the matter, 
and Lucy said she had not thought her old friend 
Tom could have been so unkind. Unkind ! But 
the result was, that Lucy refused him in the most 
positiv^e manner, then and for always. Mildred 
began to think that she could not understand 
Lucy. 

There was a grand party given one night at Mrs. 
ArkelFs, and they went to that. Mildred accepted 
the invitation without consulting Lucy. The 
Palmers were there ; and Travice treated Tom 
very cavalierly. In fact, that word is an appro- 
priate one to characterise his general behaviour to 
everybody throughout the evening. And, so far 
as anybody saw, he never once went near Miss 
Fauntleroy, with the exception that he took her 
into the supper room. Mr. Arkell did not appear 
until quite late in the evening. It was said he had 
an engagement. So he had, with men of business ; 
while the revelry was going on in doors, he was in 
his counting-house, endeavouring to negotiate for a 
loan of money, in which he was not successful. 
Little heart had he at ten o'clock to ffo in and dress 
himself and enter upon that scene of gaiety. Mildred 
exchanged but a few sentences with him, but she 
thought he was in remarkably low spirits. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 293 

"Are you not well^ William?'^ she asked. 

" I have a headache, Mildred/^ 

It was a day or two after this, and but a few 
days previous to the completion of the wedding, 
when unpleasant rumours, touching the solvency of 
the good old house of George Arkell and Son, 
reached the ears of Miss Arkell. They were whis- 
pered to her by Mr. Palmer, the old friend of the 
family. 

" It is said their names will be in the Gazette 
the day after to-morrow, unless some foreign help 
can come to them."^ 

Miss Arkell sat, deeply shocked; and poor 
Lucy^s colour w^ent and came, showing the effect 
the news had upon her. 

"I had no idea that they were in embarrass- 
ment,^'' said Mildred. 

"It is so. You see, this wedding of young 
Tiavice ArkelFs, that is to bring so much money 
into the family, has been delayed too long,'^ ob- 
served Mr. Palmer. " It is said now that Travice, 
poor fellow, has an unconquerable antipathy to 
his bride, and though he consented to the alliance 
to save his family, he has been unable to bring his 
mind to conclude it. While the grass grows, the 
steed starves, you know.'''' 

" Miss Fauntleroy was willing that her money 
should be sacrificed."'^ 



294 MILDRED ARKELL. 

'^ It would not have been sacrificed, not a penny 
of it; but the use of it would have enabled the 
house to redeem its own money, and bring its 
affairs to a satisfactory close. Had there been 
any risk to the money, William Arkell would 
not have agreed to touch it : you know his 
honourable nature. However, through the pro- 
tracted delay — which Travice will no doubt reflect 
sharply upon himself for — ^the marriage and the 
money will come too late to save them.^^ 

Mr. Palmer departed, and Lucy sat like one 
in a dream. Her aunt glanced at her, and mused, 
and glanced again. " What are you thinking of, 
Lucy,'' she asked ? 

Lucy burst into tears. " Aunt, I was thinking 
w^T^t a blight it is to be poor ! If I had thousands, 
T would willingly devote them all to save Mr. 
Arkell. Papa told me, when he lay dying, how. his 
cousin William had helped him from time to time ; 
had saved his home more than once; and had 
never been paid back' again." 

" And suppose you had money — attend to me, 
Lucy, for I wish a serious answer — suppose you 
were in possession of money, would you be really 
willing to sacrifice a portion of it, to save this good 
friend, William Arkell?" 

^^ All, aunt, all !" she answered, eagerly, ^' and 
think it no sacrifice." 



MILDRED ARKELL. 295 

^^Tlien put on your bonnet^ Lucy, child/^ 
returned Miss Arkell, " and come with me/" 

They went forth to the house of Mr. Arkell ; 
and as it turned out, the visit was opportune, for 
Mrs. Arkell was away, dining from home. Mr. 
Arkell was in a little back parlour, looking over 
accounts and papers, with his son. The old man 
— and he was looking an old man that evening, 
with trouble, not with years — rose in surprise when 
he saw who were his visitors, and Travice^s hectic 
colour went and came. Mildred had never been in 
the room since she was a young woman, and it 
called up painful recollections. It was the twilight 
hour of the evening : that best hour, of all the 
twenty-four, for any embarrassing communication. 

'' William,"^ began Miss Arkell, seating herself 
by her cousin, and speaking in a low tone, '^ we 
have heard it whispered that your affairs are tem- 
porarily involved. Is it so ?" 

" The world will soon know it, INIildred, above a 
■whisper.-'" 

" It is even so then ! What has led to it ?"" 

" Oh, Mildred ! can you ask what has led to it, 
when you look at the misery and distress every- 
where around us ? Search the Gazette for the 
past 3'ears, and see how many names you will find 
in it, who once stood as high as ours ! The only 
wonder is, that we have not yet gone with the 



296 MILDRED ARKELL. 

stream. It is a hard case, Mildred, when we have 
toiled all our lives, that the labour should come to 
nothing at last/' he continued ; " that our closing 
years, which ought to he given to thoughts of 
another world, must be distracted with the anxious 
cares of this/' 

" Is your difficulty serious, or only temporary V 
resumed Miss Arkell. 

" It ought to be only temporary,'' he replied ; 
" but the worst is, I cannot, at the present moment, 
command my resources. We have kept on manu- 
facturing, hoping for better times ; and, to tell you 
the truth, Mildred, I could not reconcile it to my 
conscience to turn off my old workmen to beggary. 
There was Travice, too. I have a heavy stock of 
goods on hand ; to the amount of some thousands ; 
and this locks up my diminished capital. I am 
still worth what would cover my business liabilities 
twice over — and I have no others — but I cannot 
avail myself of it for present emergencies. I have 
turned every stone, Mildred, to keep my head 
above water : and I believe I can struggle no 
longer." 

"What amount of money would effectually relieve 
you ?" asked Miss Arkell. 

''About three thousand pounds," he replied, 
answering the question without any apparent 
interest. 



MILDRED AKKELL. 297 

'^Then to-morrow morning vouchers for that 
sum shall be placed in the Westerbury bank at 
your disposal. And for double that sum, if you 
require it." 

Mr. Arkell looked up in astonishment; and 
finally addressed to her the very words which he 
had once before done, in early life, upon a far 
different subject. 

" You are dreaming, Mildred \" 

She remembered them ; had she ever forgotten 
one word said to her on that eventful night ? and 
sighed as she replied : 

" This money is mine. I enjoyed, as you know, 
a most liberal salary for seven or eight-and-twenty 
years ; and the money, as it came in, was placed 
out from the first to good interest ; later, a part of 
it to good use. Lady Dewsbury also bequeathed 
me a munificent sum by her will ; so that altogether 
I am worth '^ 

His excessive surprise could not let her continue. 
That Mildred had saved just sufficient to live upon, 
he had deemed probable ; but not more. She had 
been always assisting Peter. He interrupted her 
with words to this effect. 

Mildred smiled. " I could place at your dis- 
posal twelve thousand pounds, if needs must,'' 
she said. '' I had a friend who helped me to lay 
out my money to advantage. It was Mr. Dun- 



298 MILDRED ARKELL. 

dyke. Williain_, ]iow can I better use part of this 
money than by serving you ?" 

William Arkell shook his head in deprecation. 
Not all at oncCj in the suddenness of the surprise,, 
could he accept the idea of being assisted by 
Mildred. Peter had taken enough from her. 

" Peter did not take enough from me^" she 
firmly said. " It is only since Peter-'s death that I 
have learnt how straitened he always was — he 
kept it from me. I have been taking great blame 
to myself, for it seems to me that I ought to have 
guessed it — and I did not. But Peter is gone, 
and you are left. Oh, William, let me help 
you!- 

" Mildred, I have no right to it from you.'' 

She laid her hand upon his arm in her eager- 
ness. She bent her gentle face, with its still 
sweet expression, near to him, and. spoke in a 
whisper. 

" Let me help you. It will be a recompense for 
the past pain of my lonely life/'' 

His eyes looked straight into hers for the mo- 
ment. " I have had my pain, too, Mildred/^ 

" But this loan ? you will take it. Lucy, speak 
up," added Miss Arkell, turning to her niece. 
" This money is willed to you, and will be yours 
sometime. Is it not at your wish that I come 
this evening, as well as at my own ?'' 



MILDRED ARKELL. 299 

" Ohj sir," sobbed Lucy to Mr. Arkell, " take it 
all. Let my aunt retain what will be sufficient for 
her life, but keep none for me ; I am young and 
healthy, and can go out and work for my living, 
as she has done. Take all the rest, and save the 
credit of the family .'' 

WilHam Arkell turned to Lucy, the tears trick - 
lino: down his cheeks. She had taken off her 
bonnet on entering, and he laid his hand fondly on 
her head. 

" Lucy, child, were this money exclusively your 
aunt^s, I would not hesitate to make use of suffi- 
cient of it now to save my good name. In that 
case, I should wind up my afi'airs as soon as would 
be conveniently possible, retire from business, and 
see how far what is left to me would go towards a 
living. It would be enough ; and my wife would 
have to bring her mind to think it so. But this 
sum that your aunt offers me — that you second — 
may be the very money she has been intending to 
hand over with you as a marriage portion. And 
what would your husband say at its being thus 
temporarily appropriated ?" 

'' My husband V^ exclaimed Lucy, in amaze- 
ment ; ^' a marriage portion for me ! When I 
take the one, it will be time enough to think of 
the otlier.^^ Miss Arkell, too, looked up with a 
questioning gaze, for she had quite forgotten the 



300 MILDRED ARKELL. 

little romance — her romance — concerning young 
Mr. Palmer. 

" I shall never marry/' continued Lucy, in an- 
swer to Mr. ArkelPs puzzled look. " I think I 
am better as I am.'-* 

" But_, Lucy, you are going to marry. You are 
going to marry Tom Palmer.^'' 

Lucy laughed. She could not help it, she said, 
apologetically^ She had laughed ever since he 
asked her, except just at the time, at the very idea 
of her marrying Tom Palmer, the little friend of 
her girlhood. Tom laughed at it himself now ; 
and they were as good friends as before. '^But how 
did you hear of it ?^' she exclaimed. 

Travice came forward, his cheek pale, his lip 
quivering. He laid his fevered hand on Lucy's 
shoulder. 

"Is this true, Lucy?" he whispered. "Is it 
true that you do not love Tom Palmer ?'' 

" Love him I'' cried Lucy, indignantly, sad re- 
proach in her eye, as she turned it on Travice. 
" You have seen us together hundreds of times ; 
did you ever detect anything in my manner to 
induce you to think I ' loved' him V 

"Z loved you,'^ murmured Travice, for he read 
that reproach aright, and the scales which had ob- 
scured his eyes fell from them, as by magic. " I 
have long loved you — deeply, passionately. My 



MILDRED ARKELL. 301 

brightest hopes were fixed on you; the heyday 
visions of all my future existence represented you by 
my side, my wife. But these misfortunes and losses 
came thick and fast upon my father. They told 
me at home here, he told me, that I was poor and 
that you were poor, and that it would be madness in 
us to think of marrying then, as it would have been. 
So I said to myself that I would be patient, and 
wait — would be content with loving you in secret, 
as I had done — with seeing you daily as a rela- 
tive. And then the news burst upon me that you 
were to marry Tom Palmer ; and I thought what 
a fool I had been to fancy you cared for me ; for I 
knew that you were not one to marry where you 
did not love.^' 

The tears were coursing down her cheeks. '^ But 
I don't understand," she said. "It is but just^ as 
it were, that Tom has asked me ; and you must be 
speaking of sometime ago.'' 

The fault was Mildred's. Not quite all at once 
could they understand it; not until later. 

" I shall never marry ; indeed I shall never 
marry," murmured Lucy, as she yielded for the 
moment to the passionate embrace in wdiich Travice 
clasped her, and kissed away her tears of anguish. 
'' My lot in life must be like my aunt's now, un- 
loving and unloved." 

"Oh, is there no escape for us!" exclaimed 



30-2 JiIlLDEED ARKELL. 

Travice^ wildly^ as all the painful embarrassment of 
Ms position rushed over his mind. ''Can we not 
fly together, Lucy — fly to some remote desert place, 
and leave care and sorrow behind us ? Ere the 
lapse of many days, another woman expects to be 
my wife ! Is there no way of escape for us ?" 

None ; none. The misery of Travice Arkell and 
his cousin was sealed: their prospects, so far as this 
world went, were blighted. There were no means b}^ 
which he could escape the marriage that was rushing 
on to him with the speed of wings : no means known 
in the code of honour. And for Lucy, what was left 
but to live on unwedded, burying her crushed 
afiections within herself, as her aunt had done ? — 
live on, and, by the help of time, strive to subdue 
that love which was burning in her heart for the 
husband of another, rendering every moment of 
the years that would pass, one continued, silent 
agony ! 

'•' The same fate — the same fate !" moaned Mil- 
dred Arkell to herself, w^hilst Lucy sunk into a chair 
and covered her pale face with her trembling hands. 
'' I might have guessed it ! Like aunt, like niece. 
She must go through life as I have done — and bear 
—and bear ! Strange, that the younger brother's 
family, throughout two generations, should have 
cast their shadow for evil upon that of the elder ! 
A blight must have fallen upon my father^s race ; 



MILDRED ARKELL. 303 

but, perhaps in mercy, Lucy is the last of it. If I 
could have foreseen this, years ago, the same at- 
mosphere in which lived Travice Arkell should not 
have been breathed by Lucy. The same fate ! the 
same fate V^ 

Lucy was sobbing silently behind her hands. 
Travice stood, the image of despair. Mildred 
turned to him. 

" Then you do not love Miss Fauntleroy ?'' 

*' Love her ! I hate her !" was the answer that 
burst from him in his misery. "May Heaven 
forgive me for the false part I shall have to play 1'^ 

But there was no escape for him. Mildred 
knew there was not ; Mr. Arkell knew it ; and his 
heart ached for the fate of this, his dearly-loved 
son. 

'^My boy,^^ he said, "I would willingly die to 
save you — die to secure your happiness. I did not 
know this sacrifice was so very bitter.'" 

Travice cast back a look of love. " You have 
done all you could for me ; do not i/ou take it to 
heart. I may get to bear it in time.^' 

" Get to hear it V' What a volume of expression 
was in the words ! Mildred rose and approached 
Mr. Arkell. 

" We had better be going, William. But oh ! 
why did you let it come to this ? Why did you not 
make a confidante of me ?" 



30 i MILDRED ARK ELL. 

^' I did not know you could help me, Mildred ; 
indeed I did not." 

" I will tell you who would have been as thank- 
ful to help you as I am — and that is your sister- 
in-law, Betsey Dundyke. She could have helped 
you more largely than I can." 

'' But not more lovingly. God bless you, Mil- 
dred !" he whispered, detaining her for a moment 
as she was following Travice and Lucy out. 

Her eyes swam with tears as she looked up at 
him ; her hands rested confidingly in his. 

" If you knew what the happiness of serving you 
is, William ! If you knew what a recompence this 
moment is for the bitter past !" 

" God bless you, Mildred !" he repeated, ^' God 
bless you for ever." 

She drew her veil over her face to pass out, just 
as she had drawn it after that interview, following 
his marriage, in the years gone by. 

And so the credit of the good and respected old 
house was saved; saved by Mildred. Had it taken 
every farthing she had amassed; so that she must 
have gone forth again, in her middle age, and 
laboured for a living, she had rejoiced to do it ! 
William Arkell had not waited until now, to know 
the value of the heart he had thrown away. 

And the marriage day drew on. But before it 
dawned, Westerbury knew that it would bring 



MILDRED AKKELL. 305 

no marriag^e with it. Miss Fauntleroy knew it. 
For the bridegroom was lying between life and 
death. 

Of a sensitive,, nervous^ excitable temperament, 
the explanation of that evening, taken in conjunc- 
tion with the dreadful tension to which his mind 
had been latterly subjected, far greater than any 
one had suspected, was too much for Travice 
Arkell. Conscious that Lucy Arkell passionately 
loved him ; knowing now that she had the money, 
without which he could not marry, and that part 
of that money was actually advanced to save his 
father's credit; knowing also, that he must never 
more think of her, but must tie himself to one whom 
he abhorred ; that he and Lucy must never again see 
each other in life, but as friends, and not too much 
of that, he became ill. Reflection preyed upon 
him : remorse for doubting Lucy, and hastening to 
offer himself to Miss Fauntleroy, seated itself in 
his mind, and ere the day fixed for his marriage 
arrived, he was laid up with brain fever. 

With brain fever ! In vain they tried their 
remedies : their ice to his head ; their cooling 
medicines ; their blisters to his feet. His uncon- 
scious ravings were, at moments, distressing to 
hear : his deep love for Lucy ; his impassioned 
adjurations to her to fly with him, and be at peace ; 
his shuddering hatred of Miss Fauntleroy. On the 

VOL. III. 20 



306 MILDRED ARKELL. 

last day of his life, as the doctors thought, Lucy 
was sent for, in the hope that her presence might 
calm him. But he did not know her : he was past 
knowing any one. 

"LueyP' he would utter, in a hollow voice, 
unconscious that she or any one else was present — 
" Lucy ! we will leave the place for ever. Have 
you got your things ready ? We will go where 
she can't find us out, and force me to her. Lucy ! 
where are you ? Lucy !^' 

And Mrs. Arkell 1 She was the most bitterly 
repentant. Many a sentence is spoken lightly, 
many an idle threat, many a reckless wish ; but 
the vain folly is not often brought home to the 
heart, as it was to Mrs. Arkell. 

" I would pray Heaven to let me follow j^ou to 
your grave, Travice, rather than see you marry 
Lucy Arkell/^ He was past feeling or remembering 
the words ; but they came home to her. She cast 
herself upon the bed, praying wildly for forgive- 
ness, clinging to him in all the agony of useless 
remorse. 

" Oh, what matters honour ; what matters any- 
thing in comparison with his precious life V she 
cried, with streaming eyes. '''Tell him, Lucy, 
— perhaps he will understand ^ou — that he shall 
indeed marry you if he will but set his mind at 
rest, and get well; he shall never again see ^liss 



MILDRED ARKELL. 307 

Fauntleroy. Lucy ! are there no means of calming 
him ? If this terrihle excitement lasts, it will kill 
him. Tell him it is you he shall marry_, not Bar- 
bara Fauntleroy/' 

^^ I cannot tell him so/' said Lucy, from the 
very depth of her aching heart. *' It would not 
be right to deceive him, even now. There can be 
no escape, if he lives, from the marriage with Miss 
Fauntleroy.'' 

A few more hours, and the crisis came. The 
handsome, the intelligent, the refined Travice 
Arkell, lay still, in a lethargy that was taken to be 
that of death. It w^ent forth to Westerbury that 
he was dead ; and Lucy took her last look at him, 
and walked home with heraunt Mildred — to ahome, 
which, however well supplied it was now with the 
world's comforts, could only seem to her one of 
desolation. Lucy Arkell's eyes were dry; dry 
with that intensity of anguish that admits not of 
tears, and her brain seemed little less confused 
than Ms had done, in these last few days of life. 

Mildred sat down in her home, and seemed to 
see into the future. She saw herself and her niece 
living on in their quiet and monotonous home; 
her own form drooping w^ith the weight of years, 
Lucy's approaching middle life. " The old maids " 
they Avould be slightingly termed by those wdio 
knew little indeed of their inward history. And 

20—2 



308 MILDRED ARKELL. 

in their lonely hearts, enshrined in its most hidden 
depths, the image that respectively filled each in 
early life, the father and son, William and Travice 
Arkell, never, never replaced by any other, but 
holdino* their own there so Ion": as time should last. 
Seated by her fire on that desolate night, she 
saw it as in a vision. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 309 



CHAPTER XVI. 

MISS FAUNTLEROY LOVED AT LAST. 

Bl't Travice Arkell did not die. The lethargy 
that was thought to be death proved to be only 
the exhaustion of spent nature. ^Yhen the first 
faint indications of his awaking from it appeared, 
the physicians said it was possible that lie might 
recover. He lay for some days in a critical state, 
hopes and fears about equally balancing; and then 
he began to get visibly stronger. 

" I have been nearly dead, have I not ?" he 
asked one day of his father, who was sitting by the 
bed. 

'' But you are better now, Travice. You will 
get well. Thank God 1'^ 

" Yes, the danger's over. I feel that, myself. 
Dear father ! how troubled you have been !" 

" Travice, I could hardly have borne to lose 
you," he murmured, leaning over him. " And — 
thus.'' 

" I shall soon be well again ; soon be strong. 



310 MILDRED ARKELL. 

Be stronger, I liope/^ and Travice faintly pressed 
the hand in which his lay, ^' to go through the 
duties that lie before me, than I was previously.''^ 

Mr. Arkell sighed from the very depths of his 
heart. If his son could hut have looked forward 
to arise to a life of peace, instead of pain ! 

Mildred was with the invalid ofteu. Mrs. Dun- 
dyke, who, concerned at the imminent danger of 
one, in whom she had always considered that she 
held a right, had hastened to Westerbury when 
the news was sent to her, likewise used to go and 
sit with him. But not Lucy. It was instinc- 
tively felt by all that the sight of Lucy could only 
bring the future more palpably before him. It 
might have been so different ! 

Mrs. Dundy ke saw Mr. Arkell in private. 

"Is there no escape for him?''"' she asked; '' no 
escape from this marriage with Miss Fauntleroy ? 
I would give all I am worth to effect it." 

" And I would give my life,^^ was the agitated 
answer. " There is none. Honour must be kept 
before all things. Travice himself knows there is 
none ; neither would he accept any, were it offered 
out of the line of strict honour." 

'^It is a life's sacrifice/'' said Mrs. Dundyke. 
" It is sacrificing both him and Lucy." 

" Had I possessed but the faintest idea of the 
sacrifice it reallv was, even for him, it should 



MILDRED AEKELL. 311 

never have been contemplated, no matter v.liat the 
cost/' was Mr. Ai-kelFs answer. 

^' And there was no need of it. If you had but 
known that ! My fortune is a large one now_, and 
the greater portion of it I intended for Travice/' 

" Betsey V 

" I intended it for no one else. Perhaps I ought 
to have been more open in expressing my inten- 
tions ; but you know how I have been held aloof 
by Charlotte. And I did not suppose that Travice 
was in necessity of any sort. If he marries Miss 
Fauntleroy, the half of what I die possessed of will 
be his; the other half will go to Lucy Arkell. 
Were it possible that he could marry Lucy, they'd 
not wait for my death to be placed above the 
frowns of the world."" 

" Oh Betsey, how generous you are ! But there 
is no escape for him/' added Mr. Arkell, with a 
groan at the bitter fact. " He cannot desert Miss 
Fauntleroy." 

It was indisputably true. And that buxom 
bride-elect herself seemed to have no idea that 
anybody wanted to be off the bargain, for her 
visits to the house were frequent, and her spirits 
were unusually high. 

You all know the old rhyme about a certain 
gentleman's penitence when he was sick ; though 
it may not be deemed the perfection of good man- 



312 MILDRED ABKELL. 

ners to quote it here. It was a very apt illustia- 
tion of the feelings of Mrs. Arkell. While her son 
lay sick unto death, she would have married him 
to Lucy Arkell ; but no sooner was the danger of 
death removed, and he advancing towards con- 
valescence, than the old pride — avarice — love of 
rule — call it what you will — resumed sway within 
her; and she had almost been ready to say again 
that a mouldy grave would be preferable for him, 
rather than desertion of Miss Fauntleroy. In fine, 
the old state of things was obtaining sway, both as 
to Mrs. ArkelFs opinions and to the course of 
events. 

'^When can I see him?'^ asked Miss Faunt- 
leroy one day. 

Not the first time, this, that she had put the 
question, and it a little puzzled Mrs. Arkell to 
answer it. It was only natural and proper, con- 
sidering the relation in which each stood to the 
other, that Miss Fauntleroy should see him; but 
Mrs. Arkell had positively not dared to hint at such 
a visit to her son. 

" Travice sits up now, does he not T' continued 
the young lady. 

"Yes, he has sat up a little in the afternoon 
these two days past. We call it sitting up, Barbara, 
but, in point of fact, he lies the whole time on 
the sofa. He is not strong enough to sit up.^' 



MILDRED AUKELL. 313 

"Then I'm sure I may see him. It might not 
have been proper, I suppose, to pay him a visit in 
bed," she added, laughing loudly; "but there 
can''t be any impropriety now. I want to see him, 
Mrs. Arkell ; I want it very particularly.^'' 

" Of course, Barbara ; I can understand that you 
do. I should, in your place. The only considera- 
tion is, whether it may not agitate him too much." 

"Not it," said Barbara. "I wish you'd go and 
ask him when I may come. I suppose he is up 
now?" 

Mrs. Arkell had no ready plea for refusal, and 
she went upstairs there and then. Travice was 
lying on the sofa, exhausted with the exertion of 
getting to it. 

" My dear, I think you look better," Mrs. 
Arkell began, not altogether relishing her task ; 
and she gently pushed the bits of brown hair, now 
beginning to grow again, from the damp, white 
forehead. " Do you feel so ?" 

He drew her fingers for a moment into his, and 
held them there. He was always ready to respond 
to his mother's little tokens of afiection. She had 
opposed him in the matter of Lucy Arkell, but 
he was ever generous, ever just, and he blamed 
circumstances more than he blamed her. 

" I feel a great deal better than I did a week 
ago. I shall get on now." 



314 MILDRED ARKELL. 

Mrs. Arkeli paused. " Some one wants to see 
you, Travice/"^ 

The hectic came into his white face as she spoke 
— a wild rush of crimson. Was it possible that he 
thought she spoke of Lucy? The idea occurred to 
Mrs. Arkeli. 

"My dear, it is Barbara. She has asked to see 
you a great many times. She is downstairs now.-*^ 

Travice raised his thin hand, and laid it for a 
moment over his face, over his closed eyes. "Was 
he praying for help in his pain? — for strength to 
go through what must be gone through — his duty 
in the future ; and to do it bravely ? 

" Travice, my dear, but for this illness she would 
now have been your wife. It is only natural that 
she should wish to come and see you.''^ 

" Yes, of course,^^ he said, removing his hand, 
and speaking werj calmly ; " I have been expecting 
that she would .^^ 

""When shall she come up? Now?" 

He did not speak for a moment. 

"Not now; not to-day; the getting up seemed 
to tire me more than it has done yet. Tell her 
so from me. Perhaps she will take the trouble to 
call again to-morrow, and come up then.'''' 

The message was carried to Miss Fauntleroy, 
and she did not fail in the appointment. Mrs. 
Arkeli took her upstairs without notice to her son ; 



MILDRED ARK ELL. 315 

possibly she feared some excuse again. The sofa 
was drawn near the fire as before, and Travice lay 
on it; had he been apprised of the visit, he might 
have tried to sit up to receive her. 

She vras very big as usual, and very grand. A 
rich watered lilac silk dress, looped up above a 
scarlet petticoat ; a velvet something on her arms 
and shoulders, of which I really don^t know the 
name, covered with glittering jet trimmings ; and 
a spangled bonnet with fancy feathers. As she 
sailed into the room, her petticoats, that might 
have covered the dome of St. PauFs, knocked over 
a little brass stand and kettle, some careless atten- 
dant having left them on the carpet, near the wall. 
There was no damage, except noise, for the kettle 
was empty. 

" That^s my crinoline V' cried the hearty, good- 
humoured girl. ^' Never mind ; there^s worse mis- 
fortunes at sea.''^ 

"No, Travice, you had better not rise,-*^ inter- 
posed Mrs. Arkell, for he was struggling into a 
sitting position. " Barbara will excuse it ; she 
knows how weak you are.^"* 

"And ni not allow you to rise, that^s more,"*^ 
said Barbara, laying her hand upon him. " I am 
not come to make you worse, but to make you 
better — if I can.'''' 

Mrs. Arkell, not altogether easy yet upon the 



316 MILDRED ARKLLL. 

feelings of Travlce as to the visit, anxious, as we 
all are with anything on our consciences, to get 
away, invited Barbara to a chair, and hastened from 
the room. Travice tried to receive her as he ought, 
and put out his hand with a wan smile. 

" How are you, Barbara ?" 

There was no reply, except that the thin hand 
was taken between both of hers. He looked up, 
and saw that her eyes were swimming in tears. A 
moment^s struggle, and they came forth with a 
burst. 

" There ! iVs of no good. What a fool I am ?' 

Just a minute or two^s indulgence to the burst, 
and it was over. Miss Fauntleroy rubbed away 
the traces, amd her broad face wore its smiles again. 
She drew a chair close, and sat down in front of 
him. 

" I was not prepared to see you look like this, 
Travice. How dreadfully it has pulled you down V* 

She was gazing at his face as she spoke. Her 
entrance had not called up anything of colour or 
emotion to illumine it. The transparent skin was 
drawn over the delicate features, and the refinement, 
always characterizing it, was more cons])icnous than 
it had ever been. No two faces, perhaps, could 
present a greater contrast than his did, with the 
broad, vulgar, hearty, and in a sense, handsome 
one of hers. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 317 

"Yes, it has pulled me down. At one period 
there was little chance of my life, I believe. But 
they no doubt told you all at the time. I daresay 
you knew more of the different stages of the danger 
than I did." 

" And what was it that brought it on V asked 
Miss Fauntleroy, untying her bonnet, and tlirow- 
ing back the strings, ''' Brain fever is not a common 
dsiorder; it does not f^^o about in the air !" 

There was a slight trace of colour now on the 
thin cheeks, and she noticed it. Travice faintly 
shook his head to disclaim any knowledge on his 
own part. 

" It is not very often that we know how these 
illnesses are brought on. My chief concern now '' — 
and he looked up at her with a smile — " must be 
to find out how I can best throw it off.^^ 

^' I have been very anxious for some days to see 
you," she resumed, after a pause. " Do you know 
what I have come to say ?" 

" No," he said, rather languidly. 

" But I'll tell you first what I heard. When 
3^ou were lying in that awful state between life and 
death — and it is an awful state, Travice, the danger 
of passing, without warning, to the presence of one's 
Maker — I heard that it was / who had brought 
on the fever." 

His whole fiice was flushed now — a consciousness 



318 MILDRED ARKELL, 

of the past had risen up so vividly within him. 
" To2( r he uttered. '' What do you mean V 

^' Ah ! Travice^, I see how it has been. I know 
all. You have tried to like me_, and you cannot. 
Be still, be calm ; I do not reproach you even in 
thought. You loved Lucy Arkell long before any- 
body thought of me, in connection with you ; and 
I declare I honour the constancy of your heart in 
keeping true to her. Now, if you are not tranquil 
I shall get my ears boxed by your doctors, and FU 
not come and see you again .^' 

^^But " 

" You just be quiet. Pm going to do the talk- 
ing, and you the listening. There, 1^11 hold your 
hands in mine, as some old, prudent spirit might, 
to keep you still — a sister, say. That^s all I shall 
ever be to you, Travice.''' 

His chest was beginning to heave with emotion. 

•^ I have a great mind to run away, and leave 
you to fancy you are going to be tied to me after 
all ! Pra?/ calm yourself. Oh ! Travice, why did 
you not tell me the truth — that you had no shadow 
of liking for me ; that your love for another was 
strousrer than death? I should have been a little 
mortified at first, but not for long. It is not your 
fault ; you did all you could ; and it has nearly 
killed you '' 

" Who has been telling you this V he interrupted. 



MILDRED ARK ELL. SI9 

^''Xever mind. Perhaps somebocly_, perhaps 
nobody. It^s the town's talk^, and thafs enough. 
Do you think I could be so wicked and selnsli a 
woman as to hold you to your engagement, knowing 
this ? No ! Never shall it be said of Barbara 
Fauntleroy, in this or in aught else^ that she 
secured her own happiness at the expense of any- 
body else's. ^^ 

" But Barbara '' 

'^ Don't ' Barbara ' me, but listen/^ she inter- 
rupted playfully, laying her finger on his lips. "At 
present you hate me, and I don't say that your 
heart may not have cause; but I vrant to turn that 
hatred into love. If I can't get it as a wife, Travice, 
I may as a friend. I like you very much, and I 
can't afford to lose you quite. Heaven knows in 
what way I might have lost you, had vre been 
married; or what would have been the ending." 

He lay looldng at her, not altogether compre- 
hending the words, in his weakness. 

"You shall marry Lucy as soon as you are strong 
enough; and a little bird has whispered me a secret 
that I fancy you don't know yet — that you'll have 
plenty and plenty of money, more than I should 
have brought you. We'll have a jolly wedding; 
and I'll be bridesmaid, if she'll let me." 

Barbara had talked till her eyes were running 
down with tears. His lashes began to glisten. 



820 MILDRED AllKELL. 

" I couldn't do it, Barbara/' lie whispered ; " I 
couldn't do it/' 

"Perhaps not; but I can, and shall. Listen, 
you difficult old fellow, and set your mind and your 
conscience at rest. Before that great and good 
Being, who has spared you through this death- 
sickness, and has spared me, perhaps, a life of un- 
happiness, I solemnly swear that I will not marry 
you ! I don't think I have much pride, but I've 
some; and I am above stooping to accept a man 
that all the world knows hates me like poison. I'd 
not have you now, Travice, though there were no 
Lucy Arkell in the world. A pretty figure I 
should cut on our wedding day, if I did hold you 
to your bargain ! The town might follow us to 
church with a serenade of marrowbones and 
cleavers, as they do the butchers. I'll not leave 
you until you tell me all is at an end between us — 
on your side as on mine." 

" It is not right, Barbara. It is not right that 
I should treat you so." 

"I'll not leave you until you tell me all is at 
an end." 

" I canH tell it you." 

" ni not leave you until you tell me all is 
at an end," she persistently repeated. "No, 
not if I have to stop in the room all the 
blessed night, as your real sister might. What 



MILDRED AKKELL. 321 

do I care for their fads and their punctilios ? Here 
rU stop/' 

He looked up in her face with a smile. It had 
more of love in it than Barbara had ever seen 
expressed to her from him. She bent down and 
kissed his lips. 

" There ! that^s an earnest of our new friendship. 
Not that I shall be giving you kisses in future,, or 
expect any from you. Lucy might not like it^ you 
know^ or you either. I don^t say I should, for I 
may be marrying on my own score. We might 
have been an estranged man and wife, Travice, 
wishing each other dead and buried and perhaps 
not gone to heaven, every day of our lives. "We 
will be two firm friends. You don't reject me, you 
know; 1 reject you, and you can't help yourself.'^ 

"We will be friends always, Barbara/' he said, 
from the depths of his inmost heart, as he held her 
warm hand on his breast. " I am beo^inninfi^ to 
love you as one already."" 

" There's a darling fellow ! Yes, I should call 
you so though Lucy were present. Oh, Travice ! it's 
best as it is ! A little bit of smart to ffct over — 
and that's what I have been doing the past week 
or so — and we begin on a truer basis. I never was 
suited to you, and that's the truth. But we can 
be the best friends living. It won't spoil my ap- 
petite, Travice; I'm not of that flimsy tempera- 

VOL. III. 21 



322 MILDRED AEKELL. 

ment. Fancy me getting biain-feveu through being 
crossed in love !" 

She laughed oat loud at the thought — a ringing, 
meny laugh. It put Travice at ease on the score 
of the '■^ smart." 

" And now Fm going into the manufactory to 
tell Mr. Arkell that you and I are tico. If he asks 
for the cause, perhaps I shall whisper to him that 
Fve found out 3^ou won^t suit me and I prefer to 
look out for somebody that will ; and when Mrs. 
Arkell asks it me, ' We've split, ma'am — split/ I 
shall tell her. Travice I Travice ! did you really 
think I could stand, knowing it, in the way of 
anybody's life's liappiness P"" 

He drew her face down to his. He kissed it as 
he had never kissed it before. 

" Friends for life ! Firm, warm friends for life, 
you and I and Lucy ! God bless you, Barbara !'' 

" Mind ! I stand out for a jolly ball at the Aved- 
dinsT ! Lizzie and I mean to dance all nii^ht. 
Fancy us V^ she added, with a laugh that rang 
through the room, ^^ the two forlorn damsels that 
were to have been brides ourselves ! Never mind ; 
we shan-'t die for the lack of husbands, if we choose 
to accept them. But it's to be hoped our second 
ventures will turn out more substantial than our 
first." 

And Travice Arkell, nearly overcome with emo- 



MILDRED ARKELL. 323 

tion and weakness, closed his eyes and folded his 
hands as she went laughing from the room, his lips 
faintly moving. 

^^ What can I do unto God for all the benefits 
that He hath done unto me V^ 

It was during this illness of Travice ArkelPs 
that a circumstance took place which caused some 
slight degree of excitement in Wester bury. Edward 
Blissett Hughes, who had gone away from the town 
between twenty and thirty years before, and of 
whom nobody had heard much, if any, tidings of 
since, suddenly made his appearance in it again. 
His return might not have given rise to much 
comment, but for the very prominent manner 
in which his name had been brought for- 
ward in connexion with the assize cause ; and 
perhaps no one was more surprised than Mr. 
Hughes himself when he found how noted he had 
become. 

It matters not to tell how the slim working man 
of three or four-and-thirty, came back a round, com- 
fortable, portly gentleman of sixty, with a smart, 
portly wife,, and well to do in the world. Well to 
do ? — nay, wealthy. Or how he had but come for 
a transitory visit to his native place, and would soon 
be gone again. All that matters not to us ; and his 
return needed not to have been mentioned at all, 
but that he explained one or two points in the past 

,'21—2 



324 MILDRED ARKELL. 

history, which had never been made quite clear to 
Westerbury. 

One of the first persons to go to see him was 
WilHam Arkell ; and it was from that gentleman 
Mr. Hughes first learnt the details of the dispute 
and the assize trial. 

Robert Carr had been more malin — as the French 
would express it — than people gave him credit for. 
That few hours' journey of his to London, three 
days previous to the flight, had been taken for one 
sole purpose — the procuring of a marriage licence. 
Edward Hughes, vexed at the free tone that the 
comments of the town were assuming in reference 
to his young sister, made a tardy interference, and 
gave Robert Carr his choice — the breaking off the 
acquaintance, or a marriage. Robert Carr chose 
the latter alternative, stipulating that it should be 
kept a close secret ; and he ran up to town for the 
licence. Whether he really meant to use it, or 
whether he only bought it to appease in a degree 
the aroused precautions of the brother^ cannot be 
told. That he certainly did not intend to make 
use of it so soon, Edward Hughes freely acknow- 
ledged now. The hasty marriage, the flight fol- 
lowing upon it, grew out of that last quarrel 
with his father. From the dispute at dinner-time, 
Robert went straight to the Hughes's house, saw 
Martha Ann, got her consent, and then sought the 



MILDRED AKKELL. 325 

brother at his workshop, as Edward Hughes still 
phrased it, and arranged the plans with him for the 
following morning. Sophia Hughes was of neces- 
sity made a party to the scheme, but she was not 
told of it until night ; and Mary they did not tell 
at all, not daring to trust her. Brother and sister 
bound themselves to secresy, for the sake of the 
fortune that Robert Carr would assuredly lose if 
the marriage became known ; and they suffered the 
taint to fall on their sister's name, content to know 
that it was undeserved, and to look forward to the 
time when all should be cleared up by the recon- 
ciliation between father and son, or by the death of 
Mr. Cair. They were anxious for the marriage, 
so far beyond anything they could have expected, 
and, consequently, did not stand at a little sacrifice. 
Human nature is the same all the world over, and 
ambition is inherent in it. Robert Carr, on his 
part, risked something — the chance that, with all 
their precautions, the fact of the marriage might 
become known. That it did not, the event proved, 
as you know ; but circumstances at that moment 
especially favoured them. The rector of St. 
James the Less was ill ; the Reverend Mr. Bell 
was Robert Carr's firm friend and kept the secret, 
and there was no clerk. They stole into the church 
one by one on the winter^s morning. Mr. Bell 
was there before daylight, got it open, and waited 



-326 MILDEED ARK ELL. 

for them. The moment Mary Hughes was out of 
the house, at half-past seven, in pursuance of her 
engagement at ^Irs. ArkelPs, Martha Ann was 
so enveloped in cloaks and shawls that she could not 
have been readily recognised, had anybody met her, 
and sent off alone to the church. Her brother 
and sister followed by degrees. Robert Carr w^as 
already there ; and as soon as the clock struck 
eight, the service v^as performed. One circum- 
stance, quite a little romance in itself, Mr. Hughes 
mentioned now; and but for a fortunate help in 
the time of need, the marriage might, after all, not 
have been completed. Robert Carr had forgotten 
the ring. Not only Robert, but all of them. 
That important essential had never once occurred 
to their thoughts, and none had been bought. 
The service was arrested midway for the w^ant of it. 
A few moments^ consternation, and then Sophia 
Hughes came to the rescue. She had been in the 
habit of wearing her mother's wedding-ring since 
her death, and she took it from her finger, and the 
service was completed with it. The party stole 
away from the church by degrees, one b}^ one, as 
they had gone to it, and escaped observation. Few 
people were abroad that dark, dull morning ; and 
the church stood in a lonely, unfrequented part. 
The getting away afterwards in Mr. ArkelPs car- 
riage was easy. 

'^Ah,'^ said Mr. Arkell now to the brother, ''1 



:VIILDHED ARKELL. 327 

<lid not forgive Robert Carr that trick he played 
upon me for a long while, it so vexed my father. 
He thought the worst, you know ; and for your 
sister's sake, could not forgive Robert Carr. Had 
he known of the marriage, it would have been a 
different thino:.'' 

"jSTo one knew of it — not a soul/'' said Mr. 
Hughes. '^ Had we told one, we might as well 
have told all. I and Sophia knew that we could 
keep our own counsel ; but we could not answer 
beyond ourselves — not even for Mary.'' 

" Could yon not trast her ?" 

'^ Trust her!" echoed Mr. Hughes. "Her 
toDgue was like a sieve : it let out everything. 
She missed mother's ring off Sophia's finger. 
Sophia said she had* lost it — she didn't know what 
else to say — and before two days v/ere out, the 
town-crier came to ask if she'd not like it cried. 
jNIary had talked of the loss high and low." 

" Did she never know that there had been a 
marriage ?" asked Mr. Arkell. 

" Quite at the last, when she had but a day or 
two left of life. Sophia told her then; she had 
grieved much over Martha Ann, and was grieving 
still. Sophia told her, and it sent her easy to her 
grave. Soon after she died, Sophia married Jem 
Pycroft, and they came out to me. She's dead 
now. So that there's only mc left out of the four 
of us," added the returned traveller, after a pause. 



328 MILDEED ARKELL. 

'^ And Martha Ann's eldest son became a clergy- 
man^ you say ; and he died ! I should like to see 
the other two children she left. Do they live in 
Rotterdam ?" 

" I am not sure ; but you would no doubt hear 
of them there. They sold off Marmaduke Carres 
property when they came into it^ after the trial. 
It's not to be wondered at : they had no pleasant 
associations connected with Westerbury.'' 

Edward Hughes burst into a laugh. '' What a 
blow it must have been for stingy John Carr !" 

'' It was that/' said Mr. Arkell. '' He is always 
pleading poverty ; but there's no doubt he has been 
saving money ever since the old squire died and 
he came into possession. * That can't be far short 
of twenty years now." 

" Twenty years ! How time flies in this world, 
sir !" was the concluding remark of Mr. Hughes. 

There was no drawback thrown in the way of 
tJiis marriage of Travice Arkell's, by himself, or by 
anybody else ; and the day for it was fixed as soon 
as he became convalescent. Mrs. Arkell had to 
reconcile herself to it in the best way she could ; 
and if she found ' it a pill to swallow, it was 
at least a gilded one : Mrs. Dundyke's money 
would go to him and Lucy — and there was Miss 
Arkell's as well. They would be placed above the 
frowns of the world the hour they married, and 
Travice could turn amateur astronomer at will. 



MILDRED ARKELL. 329 

On the day before that appointed for the cere- 
mony, Lucy, m passing through the cloisters with 
Mrs. Dunclyke, from some errand in the town, 
stopped as she came to that gravestone in the 
cloisters. She bent her head over it, for she 
could hardly read the inscription — what with the 
growing dusk, and what with her blinding tears. 

" Oh, Aunt Betsey^^ — she had caught the name 
from Travice — " if he had but lived ! If he could 
but be w^th us to-morrow '/'' 

Aunt Betsey touched with her gentle finger the 
sorrowing face. " He is better off, Lucy." 

" Yes, I know. But in times of joy it seems 
hard to remember it. I wonder — I hope it is not 
wrong to wonder it — whether he and mamma are 
always with me in spirit ? I have grown to think 
so." 

" The thinking it will not do you harm, Lucy." 

'^ Oh, was it not a cruel thing. Aunt Betsey, for 
that boy Lewis to throw him down ! He was 
forgiven by everybody at the time; but in my 
heart — I won^t say it. But for that, Henry might 
be alive now. They left the college school after- 
wards. Did you know that?" 

'^ The Lewises ? Yes ; I think I heard it." 

" A reaction set in for Henry after he died, and 
the boys grew shy and cool to the two Lewises. 
In fact, they were sent to Coventry. They did 
not like it, and they left. The eldest went up to 



330 MILDRED AIIKELL. 

be in some office in London, and the youngest has 
gone to a private school.''^ 

" It is strange that the two great inflicted evils 
in your family and in mine, should have come from 
the Carrs V exclaimed Mrs. Dundyke. "But, my 
dear, do not let us get into a sorrowful train of 
thought to-day. And, all the sorrow we can give, 
cannot bring back to us those who are gone.^^ 

" I wish you could have seen him !" murmured 
Lncy. " He was so beautiful ! he ^^ 

" Here are people coming, my dear.-" 

Lucy turned away, drying her eyes. A clerical 
dignitary and a young lady were advancing 
through the cloisters. As they met, the young 
lady bowed to Lucy, and the gentleman raised his 
shovel hat — not so much as to acquaintances, as 
because they were ladies passing through his 
cloisters. 

" Who are they V^ whispered Mrs. Dundyke, 
when the echo of their footsteps had died away. 

" The dean and Miss Beauclerc. Aunt Betsey, 
she knew Henry so well ! She came to see him 
in his coffin.^^ 

They were at Mr. ArkelPs house, in the even- 
ing — Lucy, her aunt, and ^Irs. Dundyke. The 
breakfast in the morning was to be given in it. Miss 
Arkell's house being small, and the carriages would 
drive there direct from St. James -the-Less. Mrs. 
Arkell, gracious now be3-ond everything, had sent 



MILDRED ARKELL. 331 

for them to spend the last evening, and see the 
already laid-out table in the large drawing-room. 
She could not spare Travice that last evening, she 
said. 

Oh, how it all came home to Mildred ! She had 
gone to that house the evening before a wedding 
in the years gone by, taken to it perforce, because 
she dared make no plea of refusal. She had seen 
the laid-out table in the drawing-room then, just 
as she was looking down upon it now. 

" Lucy^s destiny is happier V she unconsciously 
murmured. 

*^ Did you speak, Mildred V 

She raised her eyes to the questioner by her side, 
William Arkell. She had not observed that he 
was there. 

" I ? — Yes ; I say Lncy^s will be a happy destiny .'' 

'^ Very happy, *^ he assented, glancing at a group 
at the end, who were engaged in a hot and laughing 
dispute, as to the placing of the guests, Travice 
maintaining his own opinion against Aunt Betsey 
and Lucy. Travice looked very well now. His 
hair was Ions: asrain ; his face, delicate still — but it 
was in the nature of its features to be so — had 
resumed its hue of health. Lucy was radiant in 
smiles and blue ribbons, under the light of the 
chandelier. 

" I begin to think that destinies are more equally 
apportioned than we are willing to imagine; that 



332 MILDRED ARKELL. 

where there are fewer flowers there are fewer thorns/' 
Mr. Arkell observed in a low tone. "There is a 
better life, Mildred, awaiting us hereafter/^ 

" Ah, yes. Where there shall be neither neglect, 
nor disappointment, nor pain ; where " 

" Here you are I"" broke out a loud, hearty, 
laughing voice upon their ears. '^ I knew it was 
where I should find you. Lucy, I have been to 
your house after you. Take my load off me, 
Travice.^' 

Need you be told that the voice was Barbara 
Fauntleroy's ? She came staggering in under the 
load : a something held out before her, nearly as 
tall as herself. 

A beautiful epergne for the centre of the table, 
of solid silver. Travice was taking it from her, 
but awkwardly — he was one of the incapable ones, 
like poor Peter Arkell. Miss Fauntleroy rated him 
and pushed him away, and lifted it on the table 
herself, with her strong hands. 

" It's our present to you two, mine and Lizzie's. 
You'll accept it, won't you, Lucy ?" 

Kindness invariably touched the chord of Lucy 
Arkell's feelings, perhaps because she had not been 
in the way of having a great deal of it shown to 
her in her past life. The tears were in her earnest 
eyes, as she gently took the hands of Miss 
Fauntleroy. 

'^ I cannot thank vou as I oug-ht. I " 



MILDRED ARKELL. 333 

" Thank me, child ! It^'s not so much to thank 
me for. Doesn't it look well on the tahle, thouo^h ? 
Mrs. Arkell must allow it to stand there for the 
breakfast.''' 

" For that, and for all else,^' whispered Lucy, 
with marked emotion, retaining the hands in her 
warm clasp. '' You must let us show our gratitude 
to you always, Barbara.'' 

Barbara Fauntleroy bent her full red lips on 
Lucy's fair forehead. " Our bargain — his and 
mine — was, that we w^ere all three to be firm and 
fast friends through life, you know. Lucy, there's 
nobody in the world wishes you happier than I do. 
Jolly good luck to you both I" 

" Thank you, Barbara," said Travice, who was 
standing by. 

" And now, who'll come and release Lizzie ?" re- 
sumed Miss Fauntleroy. " We shall have her ram- 
pant. She's in a fly at the door, and can't get out 
of it." 

" Not get out of it !" repeated :Mr. Arkell. 

"Not a bit of it. It's filled with flower-pots 
from our hot-house. AYe thought perhaps you'd 
not have enough for the rooms, so we've brought a 
load. But Lizzie got into the fly first, you see, to 
pack them for bringing steadily, and she can't get 
out till they are out. I took care of the epergne, 
and Lizzie of the pots." 

With a general laugh, everybody rushed to get 



SM MILDEED AEKELL. 

to the imprisoned Lizzie. Lucy lingered a 
moment^ ostensibly looking at the epergne, really 
drying her tears away. Travice came back to her. 

He took her in his arms ; he kissed the 
tears from her cheeks ; he whispered words of 
the sweetest tendernesSj asking what her grief was. 

" Not grief, Travice — joy. I was thinking of 
the past. What would have become of us but for 
her generosity ?" 

"But for her generosity, Lucy, I should have 
been her husband now. I should never have held 
my darling in my arms. Yes, she was generous ! 
God bless her always ! Til never hate anybod}^ 
again, Lucy.^^ 

Lucy glanced up shyly at him, a smile parting 
her lips at the last words. And she put her hand 
within the arm of him who was soon to be her 
husband, as they w^ent out in the wake of the 
rest, to rescue the flower-pots and Miss Lizzie 
Fauntleroy. 



And Mr. St. John and the dean^s daughter? 
Ah ! not in this place can their after-history be 
given. But you may hear it sometime. 



THE END.